11 Reasons Adults Bed-Wet


Why Do Adults Bed-Wet?

It`s more common to find children bed-wet. While most children grow out of the condition when their bladders become larger and better developed, others experience problems with nocturnal enuresis or urinating while asleep. Same with adults. If you experience occasional bed-wetting as an adult, you probably have nothing to worry about. However, persistent and frequent enuresis is cause for concern and requires a talk with your doctor. What could cause this condition? Let`s take a look.

11 Causes of Bed-Wetting

Hormonal Issues

Your body should produce more antidiuretic hormone (ADH) while you sleep. ADH signals your kidneys to slow down the production of urine. This limits your need to urinate while you’re asleep. Unfortunately, some people don’t produce enough ADH, or their bodies don’t respond properly to it. ADH abnormalities usually cause nighttime bed-wetting. Some studies suggest that issue, combined with others, could cause bed-wetting. Difficulties in waking and sleeping, along with daytime bladder issues could cause this condition.

There are simple tests that can measure the level of ADH in your blood. If the level is low, your doctor may prescribe desmopressin, a laboratory-made ADH. Your doctor may also look for underlying conditions that could be impacting ADH levels.

Small Bladder

Contrary to popular opinion, a small bladder isn’t actually smaller in size than other bladders. The real issue is that it feels fuller at lower volumes, making it function as if it’s smaller. That may make one urinate more frequently, including at night. Manging a small bladder during your sleep can be challenging. This is why some adults bed-wet.

People who have functionally small bladders can be trained to have it function better so it can hold urine for longer stretches of time. Setting an alarm to wake up to urinate is also helpful.

Overactive Muscles

Detrusor muscles are the muscles of the bladder that relax when your bladder fills and contract when it’s time to empty. If these muscles contract at the wrong time, it may affect your ability to control urination. This condition is called overactive bladder (OAB).

Your bladder muscle contractions may be a result of abnormal nerve signals between your brain and your bladder or an irritant to the bladder, such as caffeine, alcohol, or medications.


Tumors from bladder and prostate cancers can block or obstruct the urinary tract and may cause an inability to hold urine, especially at night. Diagnosing cancer may require a physical exam and some imaging tests. A biopsy can be helpful in identifying cancer. To prevent bed-wetting, patients could treat cancer to shrink or eliminate the tumor.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugars can affect urination. High blood sugars increase the amount of urine because the kidneys struggle to manage sugar levels. This can lead to bed-wetting, together with excessive and frequent urination. Treating diabetes usually also means treating its accompanying urinary symptoms.

Neurological Disorders

There are neurological disorders that impair bladder control. The common ones are multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions can cause frequent or uncontrolled urination while sufferers are asleep. Treating the disorder can help ease symptoms, and stop reduce bed-wetting. There are medications and lifestyle changes that sufferers may also find helpful in managing the condition.

Sleep Apnea

Peach Juice: Benefits and Side EffectsObstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes sufferers to breathe abnormally. They stop and start breathing repeatedly. A study finds that 7 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea bed-wet. Bed-wetting may become more frequent as the sleep apnea worsens.

Sufferers can treat sleep apnea with continuous airway pressure therapy that will help them breathe and sleep better, as well as reduce secondary symptoms such as bed-wetting.


There are prescription medications that can make one urinate more frequently and increase bladder contractions. This may cause bed-wetting. Some of such medications are sleep aids and antipsychotics.


Bed-wetting, surprisingly, can be hereditary. It’s unclear which genes are responsible for passing down the condition, however, if you have a parent who has had this condition, you’re more likely to experience it as well. If bed-wetting is hereditary, patients can speak with their doctor, who will prescribe medications and suggest lifestyle changes to manage the condition.

Blockage in the Urinary Tract

Blockages such as kidney stones, bladder stones, and tumors can affect the flow of urine and unexpected urine leakage and bed-wetting. Also, pressure from a stone or tumor may make muscles in the bladder contract unnecessarily, thereby leading to frequent and uncontrolled urination. A procedure may be required to remove larger stones or break them down, while smaller stones usually pass on their own.

Cancer treatment is effective at shrinking some tumors, while some may require surgery. Patients usually have greater urinary control of their urination and less bed-wetting after the treatment.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause frequent and unexpected urination. It could cause inflammation and irritation of the bladder, then as a result, lead to bed-wetting. To stop bed-wetting, sufferers will need to treat the UTI.

6 Lifestyle Changes to Stop Bed-Wetting

Monitor Fluid Intake

Try to reduce your fluid intake in the afternoon and evening. Drink more in the morning when you can use the bathroom easily.

Wake up at Night

Youn may set alarms for different times during the night so you can go urinate. This will help you prevent bed-wetting.

Urinate Often During the Day

Set a schedule during the day to urinate, and stick to it. Always urinate before bed too.

Cut Down on Bladder Irritants

There are drinks that irritate the bladder. The common ones are caffeine, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Drinking them often could cause more frequent urination.


SchizophreniaDepending on the cause of adult bed-wetting, there are four primary types of medications prescribed for treatment:

  • antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections
  • anticholinergic drugs to calm irritated or overactive bladder muscles
  • desmopressin acetate to boost levels of ADH so the kidneys will stop producing much urine at night
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors such as finasteride (Proscar) to shrink an enlarged prostate


There are various surgery options to manage this condition. Let`s discuss a few.

Sacral Nerve Stimulation

This procedure requires the doctor to implant a device that sends signals to the muscles in the bladder to stop unnecessary contractions.

Clam Cystoplasty (Bladder Augmentation)

In this procedure, the doctor will cut open the bladder and insert a patch of intestinal muscle. This extra muscle helps reduce bladder instability and increase control and capacity in order to prevent bed-wetting.

Detrusor Myectomy

The detrusor muscles control the contractions in the bladder. This procedure removes some of these muscles in order to decrease contractions.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Repair

This procedure is used for female reproductive organs that are out of position and pressing down on the bladder.

Now that you Know…

If you’re an adult who bed-wets frequently, you may have an underlying issue that you need to resolve. By all means, seek treatment to stop the condition. It is normal to feel embarrassed discussing this with a doctor, however, you need to summon the courage to. Make an appointment with a doctor to discuss the challenge. They’ll ask questions about your symptoms, health history, family history, medications, and previous surgeries. The doctor may also ask that you carry out a series of tests to look for an underlying cause.