Adult bedwetting can put strain on a relationship, but there are many steps you can take to reduce this problem and its negative effects
Adult bedwetting – whose technical name is “nocturnal enuresis” – is a problem affecting 5 million Americans each year, according to the National Association for Continence.
This form of urinary incontinence has many possible causes, which may themselves be signs of other underlying maladies — these include diabetes, prostate cancer, neurological disorders or an infection in the urinary tract. Other possible causes include side effects from medications, obstructive sleep apnea, problems with the operation of the bladder and heredity factors.
Given this wide range of possible causes for adult bedwetting, it’s vital that you be examined by a physician who can zero in on what’s behind it if you suffer from this problem. Then and only then will it be possible to formulate an appropriate long-term treatment plan.
But there are definitely steps that you can take in the short run to minimize the odds that bedwetting will get in the way of your relationships.
Bedwetting – in young people and adults alike – is behavior to which a societal stigma has long been attached. To many, bedwetting signifies immaturity, failure of control and other pejorative characterizations. Consequently, it’s common for adult bed wetters to experience feelings of shame, embarrassment and lowered self-esteem. These emotions are neither healthy nor conducive to an individual feeling ready to take on new emotional relationships, especially those likely to result in shared physical intimacy.
Whether bedwetting issues represent a major blow or just a difficult burden to an important relationship is a function of the strength and integrity of the relationship. Obviously, relationships founded on the bedrock of emotional and intellectual commonality will endure a troubling physical problem such as bedwetting much better than those founded on the shifting sands of physical beauty or sexual attraction.
If you suffer from adult bedwetting issues, the first thing to do after discussing this issue with your doctor is to talk with your partner about it. Hopefully, you and your physician have been able to rule out bedwetting as a sign of a serious underlying illness. If so, let your partner know that:
- You’re taking steps to make things better. In many cases, adult bedwetting issues can be ameliorated or even eliminated through therapy. Behavioral changes, especially changing the amount and composition of fluids consumed during the day or at night, can also make a difference. For example, beverages with alcohol or caffeine can increase urine production, and juices with high acid content can irritate the bladder. Doing Kegel exercises and bladder training may also make a difference.
- You’ve got the right products on hand that can make a difference. The immediate problems associated with adult bedwetting – wet beds and wet clothing – can be effectively addressed if you have access to the right products. Washable incontinence briefs for women and for men are available in several ranges of absorbency, with odor control often included as a feature. Waterproof sheeting is also available to provide complete protection for sheets and mattresses in a range of sizes, along with reusable odor control underpads for additional protection.
- You’ve got access to additional support resources. The Internet provides numerous online resources and support groups for those experiencing – or caring for those experiencing – adult bedwetting issues (just Google “adult bedwetting support” to see their listings). Remember, millions of people suffer from this issue, and a lot can be gained from reading and participating in the frank exchanges occurring in these support areas.
Having this discussion with your partner will help both of you in terms of making sure that adult bedwetting interferes as little as possible with your relationship.