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How Does Nighttime Incontinence Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Nighttime incontinence is also known as nocturnal urinary incontinence or nighttime wetting or bedtime wetting. It is defined as the involuntary release of urine during sleep. It happens when an individual lacks control over the bladders when he is sleeping. Its symptoms involve the release of a few drops of urine during sleep without one’s will. It is more common in children age 5-10 years and as they age, this problem solves by itself. Unfortunately, some individuals continue to have or develop this problem in their adult age due to various reasons discussed below. However, it can be cured.

How Does Nighttime Incontinence Affect The Body?

Nighttime incontinence or nocturnal enuresis is a urinary problem characterized by involuntary leaking or passage of urine at night when the individual is sleeping. About 1 in every 100 people urinate involuntarily at night throughout their life. Some people do not consider it a problem and do not seek the help of a medical professional. Some people are so embarrassed about this problem that they do not even talk about it.(1)

Nighttime incontinence is common in childhood in the age of 5 to 10 years which settles on its own as the child ages. But it continues in some people even in their adulthood that renders a serious impact on his confidence. It leads to various practical problems like changing of bed sheets or bedding at night.(1)

It induces the risk of infection in private parts. It can impact one’s sleep patterns. It may cause daytime tiredness, frustrations, and exhaustion. This negatively affects one’s self-esteem and may affect personal relationships.(1)

What Triggers Nighttime Incontinence?

Genetic Inheritance- research study state that there is a genetic link in the cases of nighttime bed wetting. It states that there are 77 % chances of bedwetting incidences in children if they have both the parents as a bed wetter. There are 40 percent chances in children if one of the parents has this problem.(1)

Smaller Size Of Bladder- in many children, it is found the bladder has grown to the appropriate size according to their age. The actual size of the bladder is smaller that would lead to early voiding of the urine and may trigger nocturnal bed wetting(1) with less control over the bladder.(2)

Sleep Apnea- sleep apnea is a condition in which the normal breathing pattern is interrupted during sleep. It may trigger nightmare incontinence in adults and children. It may induce pressure on the bladder leading to the release of stored urine in the night.(2)

Medications- certain medicines of blood pressure or heart, mental illness or anxiety may bring changes to the urinary system. It may affect one’s ability to control bladder evacuation and cause incontinence.(1)

Infections In The Urinary System- infections in the urinary system or UTI can induce bedwetting as it affects the functions of the bladder.(1)

Stress And Anxiety- if stress and anxiety continue for a long time, it may cause a significant impact on the bladder leading to nighttime incontinence.(1)

Hormone Imbalance- hormone imbalance can also trigger strain on the bladder resulting in nighttime incontinence.(3)

Diabetes- Diabetes affects the passage of urine and bladder function. It can cause nighttime incontinence.(3)

A Structural Problem In The Urinary Tract Or Nervous System- structural problem present in the urinary tract from birth or the nerves supplying urinary tract or bladder may affect the storage of urine in the bladder leading to nighttime incontinence.(3)


Nighttime incontinence is the involuntary release of urine from the bladder during sleep. It induces mental stress, frustration, exhaustion, and daytime sleepiness. It is triggered by infections in the urinary system, small bladder, diabetes, and others discussed above.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2020

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