Accidental urinary leakage often happens to many individuals as they age. The development of this adult incontinence is not a result of drinking too much during the day, forgetting to go to the bathroom before bed, or by any wrong-doing of the individual. Instead, it is often a chronic symptom of an underlying medical condition.
While it might feel as if you are alone in suffering this nighttime condition, the truth is two percent of adults under the age of 45 suffer from it, and a total of 77 percent of adults over the age of 60 develop accidental nighttime urinary leakage. The following will take a closer look at nocturnal enuresis, or nighttime incontinence, and help you realize that you are not suffering this condition alone.
What is Nocturnal Enuresis?
Nocturnal enuresis is the involuntary leakage of urine during the body while at rest. This can happen during the day if the individual is napping or sleeping, but it typically occurs at night. The development of this condition in adult years, or what medical experts consider after the age of 18, is often called adult onset secondary nocturnal enuresis. Adult onset secondary nocturnal enuresis often happens to men and women who are over the age of 60.
What Occurs in the Body During Nocturnal Enuresis?
Looking at what biologically happens in the body during nocturnal enuresis can help individuals understand this condition. The kidneys are responsible for producing urine. The urine travels down through the ureters, and reaches the bladder. The bladder is a tiny, yet muscular sac that is designed to hold urine until the body, or more specifically the brain signals the body to release it.
The body of an individual with nocturnal enuresis unexpectedly — and without warning — receives a signal to release the urine, usually when the individual is at rest. This signal can be sent for a number of reasons either because the walls of the bladder have been weakened due to trauma, or because of an underlying medical condition.
What Causes Nighttime Urinary Incontinence?
There is relatively little research done on the exact cause of nighttime urinary incontinence. However, several medical conditions have been linked to this condition.
Medical conditions linked to nighttime urinary incontinence include:
- Diabetes (Type I and Type II)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate enlargement
Solutions for Nighttime Urinary Incontinence
Nighttime urinary incontinence, especially adult onset secondary nocturnal enuresis, is a chronic condition. Even with the treatment of the underlying medical condition the bladder is still weak, and accidental urinary leakage will still happen. While it might be a chronic condition, there are several ways you can manage this condition.
Some solutions for managing nighttime urinary incontinence that allow individuals to take control of their life and handle the condition with dignity include:
- Using incontinence bed pads
- Wearing comfortable urinary incontinence underwear
- Engaging in exercises during the day that are developed to strengthen the bladder walls, such as Kegel exercises