What Causes Teenage Nocturnal Enuresis?

Nocturnal Enuresis is the term describing the leakage urine at night time. Whilst we may associate childhood years with bedwetting, it can sometimes persist into adulthood or occur during teenage years.

About Two Out of Every One Hundred Teenagers Wet the Bed at Night

Teenage Nocturnal Enuresis can make daily life more difficult and worrisome, stopping teenagers living life to the full. Many teenagers worry that people will find out and this can prevent teenagers from attending parties and sleepovers with incontinence.

So, What Causes Teenage Nocturnal Enuresis?

 

Hormone Problems

You may not think hormones have anything to do with Nocturnal Enuresis, however they actually play a large part. A hormone called antidiuretic hormone, known as ADH, ensures the body makes less urine at night. In some young people, the body does not enough ADH, meaning the body creates too much urine when they are sleeping. 

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 Bedwetting as a Genetic Condition

Whilst psychosocial environmental factors do play a part, genetic factors are thought to also heighten the risk of Nocturnal Enuresis. Studies have proven that teenagers who’s parents used to wet the bed are much more likely to experience bedwetting. Scientists have even located some specific genes that can lead to impaired night time bladder control, which are on chromosome 13, 12 and 8. Howard Bennett, MD, a paediatrician, states, “the majority of bedwetting is inherited. For three out of four kids, either a parent or a first-degree relative also wet the bed in childhood.” Often, an individual’s parent may have had the same problem at a similar age.

 

The Bladder Doesn’t Fully Empty in the Day

Urinary retention means you are unable to empty your bladder properly during the day, which can result in night time leakage waking up needing the toilet. This symptom is also associated with overflow incontinence, in which small amounts of urine leaks involuntarily.

Constipation

Constipation can put pressure on the bladder, and often leads to bedwetting during the night.

Things that can worsen constipation include the following:

  • Eating an inadequate amount of fibre
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not going to the toilet frequently
  • Obesity
  • Nerve diseases
  • Poor mobility (this often also causes functional incontinence)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

A Kidney or Bladder Infection

Incontinence during the night is a common sign of a bladder infection. Other symptoms can include a burning sensation during urination, frequent urges to urinate or noticing blood in the urine. If you notice these symptoms, make sure you visit a Doctor and ask for treatment.

 

Not Being Able to Fully Wake Up from Sleep

Some teenagers may sleep so deeply that they cannot wake up when they need the toilet. This results in accidents, and can sometimes be related to nerve problems.

 

Stress and Nocturnal Enuresis in Teenagers

Some experts believe that stress can be linked to Nocturnal Enuresis. Studies in the past have shown that trauma or stressful events can contribute towards bedwetting in future life, even years later. Many adults who have Nocturnal Enuresis experienced a stressful or traumatic event in their childhood.

 

Treating Teenage Nocturnal Enuresis

If your incontinence is caused by a hormonal problem, you can ask a Doctor for medication to compensate for insufficient ADH production. You can also ask a Doctor for medication that relaxes the bladder, allowing it to hold more urine.

For some teenagers, bedwetting alarms can be effective. These go off when you begin to wet yourself in bed, which allows you turn the alarm off quickly and go to the toilet. If you know you are  a very deep sleeper and won’t hear the alarm, you can ask a parent to wake you up once they hear this.

You can also take some steps to prevent an irritated or overly full bladder. These include avoiding caffeine, sugar and fizzy drinks, particularly before bed. You should also try and cut down on the amount of liquid you consume before bed, taking precaution that you do not become dehydrated.

For more tips on managing Nocturnal Enuresis, you can visit our Nocturnal Enuresis information section.

More Can Be Done in Schools to Help Teenagers with Incontinence. Read how we Can Educate Teachers on Incontinence

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