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

Woman stretching in bed

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 bedwetting 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

If you or someone you know is managing incontinence as a result of bedwetting, see a physician or other healthcare provider. Also, consider using a bedwetting journal. Keeping track of bathroom habits can be helpful in seeing trends and learning the types of foods and drinks that may be triggering incontinence, according to the National Association for Continence (NAFC). A journal or bladder/bowel diary can help doctors and individuals with incontinence better understand incontinence and develop a customized plan.

A bedwetting journal may include some of the following questions:

    • 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?

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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 

Consider using a waterproof bed pad to keep beds and other furniture as dry as possible. NorthShore offers bed pads and underpads in both disposable (chux) and washable varieties in different sizes. 
NorthShore Champion XD Washable Underpad

NorthShore Champion XD Washable Underpad

Another helpful tip is to wear the best-fitting most absorbent overnight incontinence products to bed. NorthShore carries tab-style briefs and absorbent pull-up style underwear of all sizes to keep you drier and more comfortable throughout the night. Using the right overnight protection such as adult diapers and other incontinence products can also promote better sleep and prevent leaks.


Man sleeping in bed

Additional items to consider adding to your list include:

    • Cleansing Wipes – NorthShore carries  Supreme Heavy-Duty Quilted Wipes in two sizes, including x-large, that can be used for cleaning the entire body and face. Ideal for those with sensitive skin, these soft wipes are hypoallergenic, unscented and alcohol-free.

    • An alarm to prompt voiding during the night

    • Bladder-healthy foods to promote bladder health. 

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

Shop Overnight Incontinence Products or call (800) 563-0161 and our Customer Care & Service team can provide personalized recommendations and tips.

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