Top Tips for Managing Incontinence at Night
- On December 4, 2017
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The International Continence Society defines Nocturnal Enuresis as “two or more nighttime voids”. Whilst incontinence at nighttime is a subject that has been poorly researched and is often avoided in conversation, it is something that can have a devastating impact on a person’s life.
Bedwetting causes many practical problems, such as the constant need to change sheets and bedding. The burden of having incontinence at night can cause a fear of staying away overnight, going on holiday or even sleeping in the same room as another person. Incontinence at night can affect sleep patterns and often causes frustration and exhaustion. It has been estimated that up to a third of adults who wake up to go to the bathroom do so at least twice a night. According to the National Association for Continence, at least two percent of adults in the UK lack control over their bladders while sleeping or during the night.
Instead of ignoring the problem, you can try out the following tips:
Be proactive and invest in protective products
Melody Denson, MD, a board-certified urologist asserts, “preparation is everything”. You can help prevent waking up uncomfortable by ensuring you have the appropriate protective products.
You have the choice of investing in the following for protection over the night:
Most incontinence products are not specified for either day or night time use. There are a variety of pads and pants in the market that you can choose to match your level of incontinence. However, when in need of a reliable night time product for heavy leaks, it is ideal to look for a product that has the highest absorbency and will be comfortable to lay in for a large amount of time. You can look for an absorbent All-In-One product for more reliable protection. The Attends Flex, an All-In-One belted pad is perfect for users with heavy incontinence and will keep you comfortable throughout the night. The products are designed to fit securely and comfortably and include an absorbent pad. These products feature adhesive tapes at the sides to keep the pads in position.
The iD Expert Slip is another All-In-One Brief that has designed especially for people with heavier incontinence and users with lower levels of mobility. Adhesive tapes are featured at the sides to hold the Incontinence pad in position.
You can purchase both disposable and washable bed pads for effective protection. They are made from an absorbent material and will soak up leakages to the ISO absorption level of the product. You can choose from a wide variety of bed pads manufactured by leading brands such as Lille, Readi and TENA. Bed pads come in different sizes and various absorption levels, making them suitable for different types of incontinence.
You can shop our full range of bed pads here.
Duvet Protection products help to keep your bedding fresh and clean from any incontinence accidents. You can use these products alongside absorbent bed pads and other bedding protection products for maximum night time protection.
Find a suitable duvet protection product from our range now.
Suitable pillow protection allows you to relax knowing your pillows are fully protected from urinary incontinence leaks. You can find pillow protection products that are extremely soft and made from 100% cotton for gentle comfort. Some pillow protectors also have a dust mite barrier for your convenience.
Visit our range of pillow protection products now.
Keep A Voiding Diary
Monitor your drinking and your urine output. This allows you to keep track of this data in your own private document. In your diary, you need to record the type and amount of fluid you consume, your amount of urine leakage and a record of any accidental leakage. It is recommended to keep track of your bladder function for at least 72 hours so you are able to gain a good understanding of what is happening in your body after consuming certain liquids.
You should track which times of the day you consume a large amount of liquid. Try to avoid drinking any liquids after 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Drinking too close to bedtime can cause the need to urinate at night. Caffeine, alcohol and sweet beverages are common culprits for an overactive bladder during nighttime. If you cannot cut the problem liquids out entirely, skip them in the hours before bedtime to help prevent nocturia.
Visit a Healthcare Professional
A healthcare professional or continence specialist can assess your symptoms, identify the cause and discuss what form of treatment is the most suitable for you. The specialist nurse, also referred to as a continence advisor, can provide you with a recommended diet and lifestyle plan. To find your local service, ask at your GP practice or call the Bladder and Bowel Foundation. Alternatively, you may be able to refer yourself directly to your local NHS continence service for an assessment and to discuss your treatment options.
Ignore the common myths
Do not let the taboo of incontinence get in the way of seeking help. Ensure you are not affected by the following myths:
Bedwetting is a problem that will simply go away by itself.
Night time incontinence can have a financial and emotional impact on your life. To save money, live confidently and enjoy your life to the full, you should look for a solution as soon as you realise you have the condition. There is a large number of treatment methods and medications that can cure the problem.
You should be ashamed if you are an adult and experience incontinence at night time.
A vast number of statistics can show you that bedwetting is NOT a condition only children experience.
Bedwetting is caused by stress
“Despite the common assumption, bedwetting is not caused by stress”, claims Dr. Alanna Levine, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. He explains, “the most common reasons for bedwetting actually include delay of bladder maturation, small bladder capacity and genetics”.
Although incontinence at night is a frustrating condition to live with, you should always remember that there are countless ways to make it easier to manage!
Male Incontinence at Night
Male incontinence at night is often neglected, with female incontinence being more widely studied. The most common causes of male incontinence at night are the following:
- An Enlarged Prostate Gland. An enlarged prostate can squeeze the urethra, making it difficult to pass urine. Your bladder therefore often does not empty completely, meaning it takes shorter time for it to fill up again. Additionally, due to the extra hard work of the bladder muscles, the bladder’s muscular wall can become less flexible and overactive. In addition to causing urge incontinence, this can also often occur at night time. Prostate surgery is also a common cause of male incontinence at night.
- ADH Hormone Imbalance. The ADH hormone reduces bladder activity during the night, preventing leakages. However, some men can have an imbalance of this hormone, making incontinence at night more likely.
- Neurological Diseases. Neurological diseases can affect the communication between the bladder and the brain and spine. In men with neurological conditions, the brain often doesn’t send signals to the bladder to hold on until the morning. Neurological injury due to accidents is just as common, interrupting the communication between the brain and the bladder. Spine injuries are a common cause.
- Genes. Although you might not expect it, night time incontinence can actually be a genetic condition. You are far more likely to develop incontinence if your family has a history of bed wetting.
The Different Types of Nocturnal Enuresis
- Persistent Primary Nocturnal Enuresis– 2 – 3% of adults have this type of nocturnal enuresis. People with this condition have not achieved dryness for longer than six months.
- Adult Onset Secondary Enuresis – this is defined as nocturnal enuresis in which nighttime dryness has been achieved frequently during the course of somebody’s life. Dryness may have occurred for many years but then nighttime wetting suddenly begins at an older age.
Why do some people experience incontinence at nighttime?
The amount of urine in our bodies decreases and becomes more concentrated at night, so we are able to sleep throughout the night without having to visit the bathroom more than once. However, for those with Nocturnal Enuresis, they may need to urinate several times a night, which interrupts their sleep cycle. The causes of nighttime incontinence can vary, with a number of studies collecting different findings over the years. Heredity as a causative factor of primary nocturnal enuresis has been confirmed by the identification of a gene marker. Some research over the years has even suggested that there is a dominant gene located on chromosome 13 and another gene on chromosome 12 responsible for the condition. Similarly, a recent study found that an individual with two bedwetting parents has a 77% chance of becoming a bedwetter. Interestingly, results showed that when one parent wet the bed as a child, his son or daughter was found to have a 40% chance of becoming a bedwetter. Another factor contributing towards night incontinence is often thought to be a lack of ADH, the antidiuretic hormone in the body. The main function of this to signal the kidneys to decrease the amount of urine produced. Individuals with a “small” bladder are also much more likely to deal with frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. This statement does not mean the actual size of the bladder is smaller, rather, the functional bladder capacity can hold a smaller volume of urine. Although these reasons are greatly significant, there are a large number of additional health conditions that have been linked to bedwetting. These conditions include urinary tract infections, kidney disease, an enlarged prostate gland and even side effects from medications.
It can be hard for adults with nighttime incontinence to talk about something that is often associated with children. However, if you are suffering from night time incontinence, you should not shrug it off as a simple phase or something to keep to yourself due to embarrassment.