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Is Bed-Wetting A Problem In Young Adults?

About two out of every 100 young adults wet the bed at night (also called nocturnal enuresis). It can be a problem for both young men and women, with most young adults who wet the bed having done so since they were a child. While some may have had help as a child, many young people may never have had help with this problem. They may think bed-wetting will get better with time, or that it can’t be helped.

Some young people with night-time wetting may also have day-time bladder problems, such as passing urine more often and more urgently than normal, and urine leaks as they hurry to the toilet (also called overactive bladder).

Bed-wetting can make everyday life more difficult. Young adults may be embarrassed by this problem, and they may fear that people will find out. They can also have the expense and workload of extra washing. It can be tricky to stay away from home overnight or to share a bed or room with someone else. A big worry is what bed-wetting can mean for close personal relationships.





Is Help Available For Bed-Wetting?

The good news is that you CAN get help. With careful review and treatment, bed-wetting can often be cured, even if past treatment did not help.

Even when it can’t be cured, you can reduce symptoms and keep bedding dry.




What Causes Bed-Wetting In Young Adults?

Wetting the bed is caused by a mix of three things:

  • the body making a large amount of urine through the night;
  • a bladder that can only store a small amount of urine at night; and
  • not being able to fully wake up from sleep.

In some young adults there is likely to also be some change in bladder function that stops normal filling and emptying of urine through the day.

Worldwide research means that we now know more about the causes of bed-wetting, such as:

  • bed-wetting can run in some families;
  • some bladders can’t hold very much urine through the day and this can cause problems at night;
  • some bladders do not fully empty on the toilet, which means urine stays in the bladder;
  • some kidneys make larger amounts of urine than normal through the night.



  • 身体在夜间产生大量尿液;
  • 膀胱在夜间只能储存少量尿液;以及
  • 无法从睡眠中完全醒过来。



  • 可能有家族性;
  • 有些人的膀胱白天不能储存多少尿液,因此夜间会遗尿;
  • 有些人不能在去厕所时排完尿,因此尿液会潴留在膀胱内;
  • 有些人的肾脏夜间产尿量比正常多。

Can There Be Other Reasons For Bed-Wetting?

Some other things can make it hard to control bed-wetting, such as:

  • constipation;
  • infection in the kidney or bladder;
  • drinking too many drinks with caffeine and/or alcohol;
  • the use of some medications and illegal drugs; and
  • allergies or enlarged adenoids and tonsils which block the nose or upper airways at night.



  • 便秘;
  • 喝水不够;
  • 喝太多含咖啡因及/或酒精的饮料;
  • 使用某些药物及违禁药物;以及
  • 过敏或淋巴腺及扁桃腺增大,夜间堵塞鼻子或上呼吸道。

How Can Bed-Wetting Be Helped?

Research has led to new types of treatment. Since bed-wetting in young adults can be more complex than in children, you must talk to a health professional with special training in bladder problems, such as a doctor, physiotherapist or continence nurse advisor. When you see this health professional, the problem will be reviewed and a physical check and some tests will be done. One test may check your urine flow (by passing urine in private into a toilet). Another test can check if your bladder empties right out. You may also be asked to do a bladder diary at home.

Treatment will depend on what was found in the check, but could be:

  • treatment of constipation and bladder infection;
  • drugs or sprays to boost how much your bladder can hold, or to cut down how much urine is made through the night;
  • training to control how well the bladder stores and empties urine;
  • use of an alarm that goes off when the bed becomes wet. This can be useful for young adults as well as children but may not be the first thing tried;
  • a mix of some of the above treatments; and
  • use of continence products to protect bedding and skin, reduce odour and increase comfort while treatment is underway.

Treatment can take a few months to work. If you only take the drugs or use the alarm now and then, it may not work at all. Some of the things that can increase the chance of becoming dry are:

  • wanting to improve;
  • having your treatment supervised; and
  • putting in a big effort to make changes where you have been asked to.

When bed-wetting does not get better, it isn’t your fault in this case, you should see a specialist doctor who will do a more thorough review.




  • 治疗便秘及膀胱感染;
  • 用药物或喷雾增加膀胱储存量,或减少夜间产尿量;
  • 锻炼控制膀胱储存及排空尿液;
  • 使用当床单被尿湿时会响的闹钟。青少年可以像儿童一样采用这种方法,但可能不是首选方法;
  • 综合选用上述疗法;以及
  • 使用排便节制产品保护床单及皮肤,在进行治疗时减少臭味及增加舒适感。


  • 想改善的意愿;
  • 对治疗进行监督指导;以及
  • 在要求你做出改变的方面尽力去做。


Seek Help

Qualified nurses are available if you call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66* (Monday to Friday, between 8.00am to 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) for free:

  • Information;
  • Advice; and
  • Leaflets.

If you have difficulty speaking or understanding English you can access the Helpline through the free Telephone Interpreter Service on 13 14 50. The phone will be answered in English, so please name the language you speak and wait on the phone. You will be connected to an interpreter who speaks your language. Tell the interpreter you wish to call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66. Wait on the phone to be connected and the interpreter will assist you to speak with a continence nurse advisor. All calls are confidential.

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* Calls from mobile telephones are charged at applicable rates.


如果你致电国家排便节制热线,有资质的护士会接听你的电话1800 33 00 66*(周一至周五,澳大利亚东部标准时间8:00am—8:00pm)。

  • 信息;
  • 建议;及
  • 资料册。

如果你在讲英语或者理解上有困难,你可以通过拨打13 14 50获取免费电话传译服务以接通国家排便节制热线。电话会用英语接通,因此请说明你要讲的语言并且不要挂机。你会被连接到一个讲你母语的传译员。告知传译员你想要致电国家排便节制热线,电话是1800 33 00 66。待电话接通后传译员会帮助你与排便节制护理顾问对话,所有的来电均保密。


* 用手机打出会收取相应费用。


Last Updated: Thu 01, Jun 2023
Last Reviewed: Tue 17, Mar 2020