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Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting)

Updated: Oct 18, 2020




When I was nine years old, I dreaded sleepovers. I'd had plenty of accidents in my friends' beds (and one particularly tragic time in a sleeping bag). I tried hiding it, but that usually brought more trouble. Sometimes I wet the bed, and sometimes I didn't, and I was afraid to leave it up to chance. I remember overhearing a family friend say once, "Isn't she too old to be wetting the bed?" I was devastated!


I know it can be discouraging when our bodies don’t perform the way we expect them to perform. With nocturnal enuresis, disbelief easily and naturally turns into shame. And whether you’re a child of five years of age or above, a teenager, or a full-fledged adult, speaking up about this nightly disorder can be difficult.


You may be one of millions avoiding sleepovers in fear of an accident, or maybe someone you care about has unsuccessfully attempted to stop nightly urine leakage. Perhaps you’ve avoided the subject with others—including your doctor. You thought maybe you could get by with “managing it” at the expense of living a full life.


But guess what? Your bladder is not the boss--you are! If you're looking to start the journey to take back control, you've come to the right place.


WHAT IS NOCTURNAL ENURESIS?

Nocturnal enuresis is also known as bed wetting and is the involuntary leakage of urine while sleeping.


Yikes! I know. The word bed wetting is jam-packed with negative associations. It is commonly considered a “baby thing” or a bad childhood habit., but adults can suffer from it, too, and it’s more common than you think! According to the National Association for Continence, bedwetting affects 20% of children age 5 and 2-3% of adults. You cannot assume a child will “outgrow” bed wetting!


Another misconception is that bed wetting is the result of laziness. But bed wetting is involuntary, and any person who wets the bed needs support and reassurance.


Nocturnal enuresis isn’t just a slight annoyance. It has a very negative impact on social activities and self-esteem. Not to mention how expensive it can become when you add up the cost of pull-ups or pads, laundry, replacement mattresses, medications, etc.


Additionally, constipation and other bladder or urination problems often accompany bed wetting. (Walker, 2019)


Thankfully, it's also something that we can treat with physical therapy. If you or someone you know is suffering from the embarrassment, fear, and high cost of bed wetting, there IS hope!


You might not have thought of it as a "physical therapy problem," but in order to understand the benefits of therapy, it's helpful to understand what's going on inside the body.