Dr Tolulope Otuneye, a General Medical practitioner at the National Hospital, Abuja, has described bedwetting among adults as a “genetic medical sickness’’. Otuneye said in Abuja on Saturday that bedwetting during sleep is also referred to as `nocturnal enuresis’.
According to him, this is a medical condition known to occur more among children ostensibly from an immature bladder. He, however, noted that the phenomenon among adult, indicated an underlying health condition or traits inherited from the family.
“It can be hereditary that is there is a higher risk in those adults whose parent or siblings had similar problems.
“It can also be due to diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus (an imbalance in the production of Antidiuretic hormone) or suppressed kidney response to the hormone. “At times, bedwetting can be caused by infection of the urinary bladder, problems with the bladder (too small or cancer of the bladder) and prostate abnormalities (enlarged prostate or cancer),’’ the physician said.
According to him, psychological problems such as stress, fear, anxiety, sleep disturbance, side effects of certain medications, excessive ingestion of alcohol or caffeine containing and irritable bladder can also cause bedwetting in adults.
He, however, said bedwetting among adults could be treated surgically with medication and a change in daily lifestyle routine. “Lifestyle modification can include reducing fluid intake, particularly during late afternoons or evenings; reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, urinating regularly or on a schedule like just before bed time.’’
He added that protecting the bed with special absorbent mattress cover and wearing absorbent briefs overnight could reduce the stench that might emanate from bedwetting. Mrs Wunmi Michael, a mother of three, told NAN that she used to bedwet when she was younger till her university days. Michael said that the experience was embarrassing and made her develop low esteem, become introvert, smell and unable to make friends.
“It made me feel unwanted by my family, particularly my mother, who always beat and embarrass me.
“So, I tried to stay away from people all the time, even in school,’’ Michael said. She added that she took many traditional herbs to stop it and was even taken for deliverance on allegations of her having spiritual ties with the underworld.
Corroborating Otuneye’s claim, Michael attributed her cause of bedwetting to over feeding and taking lots of fluid, especially at night as well as fear to go out to urinate at night.
“At times, I dream as if I am in the bathroom or an open space so I urinate not knowing that I am bedwetting. “At such times, it wetness of the mattress often wakes me up or being slapped by my mother.’’
She said bedwetting affected her relationship with her mother and siblings as she was forced to stay at home whenever other members of the family went out on social visits.
“The only person that supported and tried to encourage me was my grandmother, who understood me and at times wakes me up like four times in the night to urinate.’’
Michael, therefore, advised parents to desist from beating or punishing their children in attempt to stop them from bedwetting. Rather, she said parents should talk to their children gently and seek medical attention.
Similarly, Mr Julius Musa, a civil servant, said his 15-year-old son started bedwetting a year earlier while in boarding school.
He said that he sought medical attention and realised that it could be as a result of some health challenges and not spiritual attacks as claimed by some people. “It became worrisome for me because it affected my son’s behaviour.
He became an introvert; he does not mingle with friends and always staying indoor. “So, I quickly look for a way out before it become another issue.
“And fortunately for us, the doctor diagnosed infection in the bladder and he is currently receiving treatment for it,’’
Musa said. Musa cautioned parents not to condemn a child or adult who bedwet, but rather render support and find solutions to it.
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