National Incontinence is America’s source for bladder control products.
Tips & Advice: Nighttime Incontinence
- Frequent Nighttime Urination
- Tips for Adult Bedwetting
- Bedwetting Alarms for Nocturnal Enuresis
- Adult Incontinence Products for Nighttime Wetting
- Bedding Protection for Adult Bedwetting
- Make Going to the Bathroom Easier and Safer
- Taking Care of the Caregiver
Frequent Nighttime Urination
If you have control over your bladder but wake up to use the bathroom several times during the night, you're experiencing what's known as "nocturia," or an overproduction of urine at night. Those who experience nocturnal polyuria produce a nighttime urine volume that's greater than 20 to 30 percent of the total 24-hour urine volume.
While most individuals with nocturia simply wake up to use the bathroom, there's always the possibility of missing your body's signal and not making it in time, resulting in nighttime wetting. If you begin to experience frequent urination at night, contact your healthcare provider. Before talking to your doctor, keep track of how frequently you get up to go during the night, roughly how much urine you typically pass, whether you're experiencing bladder control issues, and how you feel after going (ie., does your bladder feel completely empty?). While you and your doctor work toward a solution, it's a good idea to use waterproof bedding or protective undergarments in case you sleep through your body's signals.
Tips for Adult Bedwetting
Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, affects an estimated 4.2 million American adults, according to the National Association for Continence. Some adults have been wetting the bed since childhood (primary enuresis), while others develop the problem during adulthood (secondary enuresis). Bedwetting in adults is usually treatable and can be caused by a range of issues including: diabetes, physical injuries, medication, surgery, weak pelvic floor muscles, emotional stress, and genetics. If you are an adult bedwetter, here are several methods you can use to help achieve dry nights:
- See a doctor. Many people who wet the bed at night are reluctant to talk to their doctor because they’re embarrassed. But by not seeking medical help, you won’t know the underlying cause, and therefore, won’t know how to effectively treat the problem.
- Monitor your fluid intake. Try limiting your fluids a few hours before bed, but don’t completely restrict your intake because dehydration can irritate your bladder. Also, avoid drinking caffeinated and carbonated fluids at night.
- Retrain your bladder by increasing your bladder’s capacity. Use the bathroom every hour throughout the day and resist the urge when you’re not scheduled to go. Gradually increase the time interval between bathroom breaks as you regain bladder control.
- Completely empty your bladder before going to bed. Frequent urination during the day, especially due to an overactive bladder, can carry over into nighttime wetting in adults.
- Stay dry using absorbent undergarments and bedding designed for nighttime protection. Disposable adult briefs and waterproof bed pads can reduce your worries of waking up to a wet bed.
Adult bedwetting is a frustrating medical condition that can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Online support groups can help you connect with others who experience and understand what you are going through. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that there are bedwetting solutions to help you regain control of your bladder and your life.
Bedwetting Alarms for Nocturnal Enuresis
The most effective treatment for nocturnal enuresis, or bedwetting, is the bedwetting alarm. Many parents use this method for their bedwetting children, but alarms can also work for adult bedwetting or for someone with primary enuresis. The user lies on top of or wears a moisture-detecting sensor that is attached to an audible and/or vibrating alarm. When the sensor detects urine, the alarm sounds, and awakens the sleeper to get up and empty the bladder into the toilet, rather than the bed. Over time, the enuresis alarm conditions the user to associate the sensation of a full bladder to getting up and using the bathroom.
Studies have shown that compared to any other bedwetting treatment, the bedwetting alarm produces the most successful results and the lowest relapse rates. This type of treatment can take several weeks before adults and children stop wetting the bed. The key is to stay persistent and positive.
Enuresis alarms are not recommended for use on adults who have developed secondary enuresis as a symptom of a disease or condition. Alarms should not be used for those with degenerative diseases, those who cannot feel a full bladder, or those who may not physically be able to get to the bathroom.
Adult Incontinence Products for Nighttime Wetting
Absorbent products designed for nighttime incontinence will keep adult bedwetters dry and comfortable. Disposable briefs and pull up underwear are convenient for overnight use because they absorb large amounts of fluid and can easily be discarded and replaced. Below are some of the best nighttime diapers and underwear for adult bedwetting:
- Abena Abri-Form Briefs are the most absorbent disposable adult diapers on the market. They feature moisture-wicking capabilities, refastenable tapes, an elastic waistband, and a wetness indicator for all around comfort and maximum leakage protection.
- The Tranquility OverNight underwear is a great alternative to an adult brief. The protective underwear holds over a quart of liquid and features a full-waist panel for a more comfortable fit. The tear-away side seams also offer caregivers an easy way to quickly change individuals.
- The Washable Bedtime Pant offers discreet overnight protection, while preserving the user’s dignity. With an accommodating disposable booster pad, these washable pants can absorb up to 17 oz. of fluid.
Bedding Protection for Adult Bedwetting
Wet sheets and dirty laundry due to adult bedwetting can be frustrating and expensive. But with waterproof bedding, your mattress and your sheets will stay dry and comfortable throughout the night. Washable underpads help minimize your laundry load since they lay on top of the bedsheets, protecting both the bedding and the mattress. These waterproof pads are great for quick changes because they’re easy to remove and replace without having to strip the entire bed. Another great waterproof product is the premium mattress cover. These covers are breathable so they’re very comfortable to sleep on and can easily dry in one cycle. The fitted style is easier to take on and off than the zippered style, which encases the entire mattress. These waterproof products are highly effective in absorbing urine leaks, making your nights easier and wet-free.
Make Going to the Bathroom Easier and Safer
Sometimes people just need a little help getting to the bathroom before they wet the bed or themselves. Here are five tips on how you can make going to the bathroom easier and safer:
- Make sure that the path to the toilet is clear, so you don't trip or fall on your way.
- Nightlights can help groggy individuals easily and safely locate the bathroom.
- Install a toilet base riser to help give independence for those with limited mobility or those who use a wheelchair.
- A bedside commode or urinal provides quick access for bedridden individuals.
- Wear easy-to-remove clothing so no time is wasted when nature calls.
Taking Care of the Caregiver
Caring for an elderly or disabled family member is a demanding job that requires a lot of time, patience, and physical strength. The heavy lifting, frequent turning, and assisting with toileting needs can all place caregivers at risk for physical problems. For this reason, it's important that caregivers remember to take care of themselves.
One way of doing this is taking steps to make the job less taxing. Selecting absorbent undergarments that are easy to put on and take off will make the task of replacing them less physically challenging. For patients with light to moderate incontinence, try incontinence pads like Tena Pads or Prevail Bladder Control Pads. Bladder pads adhere to the user's own underwear, making replacement quick and easy. For individuals with heavy incontinence, adult briefs like those from Molicare and Attends provide a high level of protection with the convenience of refastening tabs.
Choosing disposable products over reusables that require washing can also make caregiving easier. For nighttime protection, products like Chux and Prevail disposable underpads save you from constantly doing laundry, which helps preserve your valuable energy. While they're not disposable, vinyl mattress covers and pillow covers also help cut down on laundry, as they can simply be wiped clean when soiled.