incontinence in teenagers and young adults

20,000 - 60,000 Australian teenagers experience some form of incontinence. These figures include teenagers that experience urinary incontinence (daytime wetting, bedwetting), faecal incontinence (soiling) or a combination of these issues.

The Continence Foundation’s adolescent support website Incontinence in Confidence provides information and advice around building confidence, motivational strategies, talking to friends about incontinence, mental health support, and how to manage incontinence during sports and sleepovers.

bedwetting

Most teenagers and young adults who wet the bed have done so since they were a child. Some may have had help as a child but many young people have never had help with this problem. They may think bedwetting will get better with time. They may think that it can’t be helped. Some young people with bedwetting also have daytime bladder problems. They may:

  • pass urine more often than normal
  • feel the need to go more urgently than normal
  • leak urine as they hurry to the toilet (also called urge incontinence).

The reasons for bedwetting among teenagers and young adults are the same reasons for bedwetting among children. In most cases teenagers haven't developed the appropriate brain control of bladder function at night. It is unlikely to be the result of a medical problem with their kidneys or bladder, but they should be checked by a doctor or specialist if this has not already been done.

It is unusual for a young adult with bedwetting to have reached teen years without having had some form of bedwetting therapy. It is worth revisiting methods/therapies tried previously.

daytime wetting

Daytime wetting is any bladder (wee) leakage that happens when awake

Daytime wetting (diurnal enuresis) is a common condition and can be caused by several things including pelvic floor problems and an overactive bladder.

soiling

Soiling is any bowel (poo) leakage

About 1 in 20 Australians experience faecal incontinence, including thousands of young people. Causes of soiling include constipation, pelvic floor problems and underlying medical conditions

Seek help

In many cases incontinence can be prevented, better managed and even cured. Talk to your doctor or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 for free and confidential advice and support.  

Our adolescent support website Incontinence in Confidence also provides information and advice around building confidence, motivational strategies, talking to friends about incontinence, mental health support, and how to manage incontinence during sports and sleepovers.

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Last Updated: Wed 23, Sep 2020
Last Reviewed: Wed 01, Apr 2020