Adult Bedwetting: Do You Know All You Need to Know?

Lady in bed with arms raised looking happy

When we think of bedwetting, we usually think of young children. However, adult-onset of bedwetting affects many adults. Also known as secondary enuresis, it is the involuntary release of urine during sleep. Primary enuresis refers to bedwetting that starts in childhood and has continued nonstop through adulthood.

According to Healthline, if you or someone you love experiences one-time bed-wetting as an adult, you likely have nothing to be concerned about. However, persistent and frequent enuresis may be cause for concern and signal larger-scale issues.

Common Bedwetting Symptoms

  • Frequency, urgency or a burning sensation when urinating

  • Straining, dribbling or other unusual symptoms with urination

  • Cloudy or pinkish urine, or blood stains

  • Being unable to control bowel movements

  • Constipation

Adult bedwetting can be a sign of an underlying medical or emotional issue.

Possible Causes of Adult Bedwetting

  • Diabetes

  • Neurological problems

  • Urinary tract infections 

  • Prostate enlargement and/or cancer

  • Structural or anatomical issue

  • Bladder cancer

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Anxiety, major life changes and other stressors

How to Monitor Your Bladder

A doctor may start by asking questions about symptoms and your health history so it is good to start a daily journal.

Here are a few questions to answer:

  • How many trips do you make to the bathroom each night?

  • How much urine do you void each time you go to the bathroom?

  • How often do you wet the bed each night?

  • How much water do you drink before bed?

  • Is urinating painful?

  • Do you have any other symptoms?

Your doctor may recommend a physical examination as well as testing, which may include:

  • Urinalysis 

  • Urine Culture 

  • Uroflowmetry – measures how much and how quickly you urinate

  • Post-Void Residual Urine Measurement - measures the amount of urine in the bladder after voiding

  • Ultrasound of the Kidneys and Bladder

  • Blood Test

  • Sleep Test

  • Neurological Evaluation

  • Psychological Evaluation

Products & Tips 

Use a waterproof bed pad or mattress protector to keep your bed and furniture as dry as possible. NorthShore offers bed pads in both disposable (chux) and washable varieties in different sizes. We also carry 100% waterproof mattress protectors that are machine washable and dryer friendly.

    Protect-A-Bed Mattress Protector U031

Protect-A-Bed Cotton Terry Mattress Protector

NorthShore Champion XD Washable Underpad

NorthShore Champion XD Washable Underpad

Wear the best fitting overnight incontinence products to bed. NorthShore carries liners, tab-style briefs and absorbent pull-on style underwear of all sizes to keep you drier and more comfortable throughout the night. Using the best overnight diapers can help you sleep better and prevent leaks.

Man sleeping in bed
Additional items to consider adding to your list include:

  • Skincare products to prevent irritation. Protective skincare products can include moisture barrier ointments and cleansing sprays to make bedside cleaning easier.

  • An alarm to prompt voiding during the night.

  • Bladder-healthy foods to promote bladder health. 

  • Books and other reading material, as well as podcasts, can provide important information and tips. View our list of recommended books and podcasts.

Adult bedwetting can be embarrassing and disruptive. If you are experiencing frequent bedwetting, especially during the evening, it may signal a serious issue that requires the attention of a physician. 

Shop incontinence and overnight products online at or call (800) 563-0161 and our kind and caring Customer Care & Service team is available to provide personalized recommendations and tips.

We're always happy to help!