Young adults and bedwetting

By • Published: December 7th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s not uncommon for a 4-year-old to wet the bed. Even first-graders have accidents from time to time. But what do you do when you’re a freshman in high school … or college … and you still wake up from a night’s rest all wet?

Whether you are 5 or 15, bedwetting is an embarrassing problem. And though many children grow out of it by the time they are in first grade, not all do. In fact, about one in 50 teens and young adults still wet the bed at night. And there are many reasons why.

But first, a primer on bedwetting. Bedwetting is not voluntary. Children and adults who accidentally soak their sheets aren’t doing it because they are too lazy to rouse from their slumber.

So what does cause this problem?

In adolescents and young adults the most likely culprits are simply not registering that tell-tale “gotta-go” feeling during sleep or having a small bladder. Your body may also just be making a bit too much “wee-wee” in the wee hours. There is a genetic link too. If your parents wet the bed, you stand about an 80 percent chance of inheriting this problem.

Urinary tract infections and an overactive bladder can also cause a person to wet the bed. And though it’s a little less common, bedwetting could also be a sign of a seemingly unrelated health issue, such as sleep apnea or diabetes.

For young adults who have roommates and even looming love interests, continuing to wet the bed can be a source of anguish and anxiety, but experts say they are therapies that can help.

Teens and twentysomethings who wet the bed should see their doctor and find a specialist who can address the issue. If doctors can pinpoint the cause of bedwetting, medication and different therapies, such as using an alarm, can be used to help control it.

One final thought: Remember, you’re not alone. Other young adults struggle with bedwetting, too.