Nocturia & Adult Bedwetting

Health & Fitness

  • Author Gary Ow
  • Published February 26, 2023
  • Word count 931

What is adult bedwetting and nocturia?

There are two types of nocturnal incontinence. Noctural enuresis (bedwetting) is involuntary urination during sleep after the age when people are expected to stay dry. This should not be confused with nocturia, which describes frequent urination – in other words, the need to wake up one or more times during the night to urinate.

Bedwetting in adults (nocturnal enuresis) and nocturia

Bedwetting in adults usually has different causes than those found in children. Among adults, wetness is known as nocturnal enuresis. The reasons can be different – but in general, frequent urination can mean that the body produces more urine due to changes in the production of certain hormones, kidney problems, diseases or the effects of drugs. This can lead to nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) or the need to go to the toilet one or more times during the night – a condition called nocturia. It should be noted that it is normal for the elderly to get up once or twice a night to urinate.

What causes enuresis and nocturia in adults?

As we age, our bodies change. One of these changes is an increased need to go to the bathroom to urinate. So if you’re at a stage in life where you go to the bathroom a few times a night, that’s normal. There are several different reasons for this. A younger person can hold up to half a liter of urine, but with age this usually drops to about half as the bladder muscles become less flexible.

Production of Antidiuretic Hormone

Another factor that causes a nocturnal urge to urinate in aging is related to a reduced ability to concentrate urine at night. This in turn leads to large amounts of dilute urine. The total urine output within 2

hours may not change – however, as you get older, more urine is excreted at night than when you were younger. The amount of water excreted by the kidneys is regulated by an antidiuretic hormone, which signals the kidneys to reduce the amount of urine produced.


Nocturia and bedwetting in adults can also occur when the body produces too much urine. Polyuria is an excessive or abnormally large amount of urine output or excretion regardless of the time of day. A healthy adult produces an average of 1-2 liters of urine per day, depending on how much liquid is consumed eats and how much moisture is released from the body. With polyuria, this amount increases to 2.8 liters or more. Polyuria can be a symptom of diabetes and other causes. If you are unsure and need advice, always contact your doctor.

Prostate Problems

The prostate gland often enlarges as men age. Because this gland surrounds the urethra, an enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra. This prevents the bladder from emptying properly, which causes more urination at night.

Bladder Problems

Bladder problems, such as urge incontinence, where a person feels a sudden need to urinate, can cause nocturnal enuresis and nocturia. An overactive bladder can also cause nocturia.

Heart problems

Heart patients have reduced circulation and one of its symptoms can be swelling of the leg area. When the patient lies down or raises the legs, as we do during sleep or rest, the fluid accumulated around the lower leg enters the bloodstream and is removed by the kidneys. The result is an increased need for the toilet at night.


High blood sugar increases thirst. Drinking more than usual increases the need to urinate. High blood sugar causes the kidneys to excrete sugar into the urine, which increases the amount of urine and in turn causes the need to urinate more often.

Other causes of wetness and nocturia in adults

Lifestyle behaviors can affect the amount of urination. For example, drinking large amounts of liquid. Caffeine and alcohol after dinner can also cause the need to urinate at night.

How to treat enuresis and nocturia?

You can self-treat the symptoms of nocturia in several ways. These include:

Reduce drinking before bed

Don’t drink too much, too late at night without reducing your daily fluid intake by 6-8 cups or 2 liters. It’s more about when you drink than how much.

Limit caffeine consumption

Coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks can irritate the bladder and disturb sleep. Try to limit their consumption.

Raise Swollen Ankles

If you have swollen ankles, try sitting or lying with your feet in the air for about an hour during the day. Using support socks can also help.

Check medication

Some medication can increase urination and nocturia. Ask your doctor if this could be the case. You should never stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Nocturia and nocturia-related medications and diseases include:

Heart and kidney disease


Diuretic drugs and sedatives

Overactive bladder

Urinary incontinence

Does sleep reduce distractions? Is your bedroom a comfortable temperature? Is it too bright? If you do, try to reduce the number of naps.

Kegel or Pelvic Floor Exercises

Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are one of the most effective ways to improve and maintain bowel and bladder function. Many people find that bladder training is also helpful.

What specific treatments are available for nocturia?

Prostate Problems

If you are concerned that you may have prostate problems, talk to your doctor who will do an exam and discuss your treatment options. These range from medication to surgery.

Urinary incontinence

There are different ways to treat and manage urinary incontinence, for example, adult diapers.

Even if you are seeking out advanced vibration treatments, adult diapers can be a useful intermediary measure.

Therapist supporting older clients with urinary incontinence.

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