Kayode Korede (not real name) has a successful career; he is a successful businessman and he his happily married. He is likable person and so his social life’s thrives. But his life has been over-shadowed by a dark secret: he is a chronic bed- wetter and five or six times a week wakes up to find his sheets are damp. It’s a really a demeaning and humiliating situation but I have learnt to live with and then God I have an understanding wife, in fact, my kids don’t even know about.”
Elizabeth shared this in her church as a testimony, “I have been bedwetting all my life and I want to thank God I have finally found a miracle, I no longer bedwet.” According to the young 17-year-old lady, she tried all she knew and even her parents had taken her to seek both medical and native help but everything failed. Bedwetting is something we associate with young children, yet while most people grow out of it in their primary school years, a significant number do not.
A research conducted by the Bladder And Bowel Foundation, found out that one in 100 adults will be affected by bedwetting at some point during their lifetime. That means there are many adults among us that have been afflicted with that condition but because of the shame attached to it, bedwetting is often discussed in hushed tones. It is often described as a closet condition.
Dr. Makinde Adetayo describes bedwetting as the unintentional passage of urine during sleep, mostly at night. The medical term for it Enuresis, this literary means, urinary incontinence, whether in the clothing during the day or in bed at night. “Although, it sometimes it runs in the family and there is a higher probability for one whose parent was a bedwetter as a child, the risk of having a child who wets the bed rises to 40 per cent”, Dr. Adetayo said. He also added that bed- wetting is more common among boys than girls and that chronic illness and/or emotional and physical abuse may compel a child to bedwet. The Mayo Clinic estimates that up to 50 per cent more males than females wet the bed. For infants and young children, urination is involuntary. Wetting is normal for them. Most children achieve some degree of bladder control by four years of age.
Bedwetting among adults
In many adults with Enuresis, the common cause is an immature pituitary gland, this gland in situated in the brain and it helps with the production of of antidiuretic hormone, this hormone is produced at night and it helps reduced the amount of urine made, so we are not woken in the early hours of the morning by a need to use the toilet. And without sufficient amount of this hormone, urine production continues as normal and so the risk of bedwetting increases. This is commonly why children wet the bed, as their pituitary gland is not mature enough to produce the right level of this hormone. However, this can happen in adults, too. But in some cases, the problem is that the bedwetter is sleeps very deep that don’t even feel pressed when sleeping. Another cause is an overactive bladder, this means that the bladder spasms when it is just slightly full, causing bedwetting.
Moreover, many adult bedwetters have the combination of all three of these and when this happens all the time for a long time, it might become a habit.
However, Dr. Adetayo warnedthat if bedwetting suddenly starts in an adult, then such adults need to go investigate the cause. He said: “if bedwetting suddenly begins in an adult then there might be an underlying cause. Often times when this occurs, most likely, it may be as result of another ailment such as diabetes, heart failure, nerves, prostate problems, and muscle problems or, in rare circumstances, a cancerous growth in the prostate or bladder.”
In some cases, there can be a psychological element, too, such as an emotional distress, like stress, fear or insecurity makes the body tenser and this may cause bedwetting among adults. Other causes include small bladder size, urinary tract infection (UTI), prostate gland enlargement, sleep apnea (abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep) and constipation.
Lifestyle changes to manage bedwetting
Changing some lifetime habits can be of great help to stop bedwetting. The most important thing to do first is to set limits on fluid intake. This plays a large part in controlling bedwetting. Try not to drink water or other liquids within a few hours of bedtime to reduce the risk of having an accident. Cut out caffeinated or alcoholic drinks in the evening because caffeine and alcohol are bladder irritants, and may cause you to urinate more. Use the bathroom right before you go to bed to empty your bladder fully before sleep. Draw out a plan that will help you stay dry all night. Refrain from punishing bedwetting incidents. Praise your child when he or she stays dry. This will help him or her feel good about not wetting the bed.
However, bedwetting that stems from a medical condition requires treatment beyond just lifestyle adjustments. Children should not be punished for wetting the bed. They don’t do it on purpose, and most outgrow it. Until then, bedwetting alarms, bladder training and medicines might help.
Additional information from healthline & Mayo clinic.
By Bolatito Adebayo