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Sleep Disorders

Adult Bed Wetting

01/19/2010

Question:

I am 18 years old (male) and have wet the bed my whole life. Its not every night (probably once or maybe twice a week). I just sleep very deep and it doesn`t wake me up. I fall asleep fast and wake up fast, though. Recently I have felt an on and off aching in my right testicle but thats not always there and that`s just recent and I`ve been a bed wetter my whole life so I don`t know if it`s related. What could be a possible problem?

Answer:

Thank you for using NetWellness. Roughly 16 percent of 5 year old children have nighttime bed wetting otherwise known at nocturnal enuresis (NE). The rate of bed wetting falls sharply with age. The rate for those 15-18 years of age is 1-2%. NE should not be accepted as “common” or “normal” for someone in your age group. The disorder is twice as common among boys than girls, and resolves spontaneously at a rate of approximately 15 percent per year. However, the longer the NE persists, the lower the probability that it will spontaneously resolve. There are many causes of NE that include some of the following:

In your case, if you have had problems since childhood, then this may suggest some anatomic problem with your urinary tract system. I encourage that you seek medical attention by first seeing your primary care physician. He or she will more than likely refer you to a Urologist. If the workup is unremarkable it may be advisable for you to see a Sleep Specialist as well so as to rule out a possible sleep disorder. This would be important as there are some sleep disorders that are associated with nighttime urination. An example would be sleep apnea (airway occlusion during sleep). This problem, however, usually does not result in bed wetting per se as most patients usually get up and go to the bathroom. There are other less common causes of NE such as nighttime seizures.

So as you can see, the list of causes of bedwetting is fairly long and therefore you will require an office visit with your primary care physician with probable referral to specialty clinics so as to comprehensively address your problem. The treatment really depends on the cause of the NE.

Your testicular symptoms are unlikely related to the bedwetting, though should not go unevaluated. You should see your primary care physician for this as well, as this may require a separate evaluation.

Once again thank you for using Netwellness.

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Response by:

Steven  Kadiev, MBBCh Steven Kadiev, MBBCh
Formerly:
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University