Adult Nocturnal Enuresis (Adult Bedwetting)


My Story – Submitted by: Colin

Nocturnal enuresis (the clinical term for bedwetting) effects millions of youngsters worldwide. Most young people outgrow it or are able to be cured of their bedwetting using bedwetting alarms, medicines, surgery, or other methods. What many people may not be aware of is the fact that a large percentage of adults suffer from this problem also and some of these deal with the issue their entire life. It’s estimated that as many as 1 to 3% of adults have problems staying dry at night. These figures could be significantly higher and it’s likely the real figures may never be known due to the attendant stigma surrounding adult bedwetting – as Cheryl B.Gartley, president of the Simon Foundation for Continence says: “Bedwetting is a closet issue within the closet issue of incontinence.” These individuals resort to wearing some form of protection to bed such as disposable diapers, cloth diapers, or plastic pants. Unfortunately these individuals are stigmatized by the public – bedwetting seems to be viewed more negatively than other forms of incontinence, why this is so is puzzling to me.  The people suffering from bedwetting are reluctant to form relationships with people – imagine having to tell your significant other you have to wear diapers and plastic pants to bed – and are reluctant to spend the night at friends houses. Additionally business trips can be a nightmare for the adult plagued by bedwetting.

I have personal experience in this area – I’ll be 48 this June and wet the bed throughout my childhood and have frequent nighttime accidents as an adult. I manage the issue by wearing an adult size pin-on style cloth diaper covered with an adult size pair of plastic pants (or “rubber pants” as they’re known by many people even though this is a misnomer). Although some may be a bit hesitant  to use safety pins and may consider them old-fashioned, this style of diapering is easier to use than you think, plus this type of diaper works wonders for keeping the bed dry – with pin-on style cloth diapers you have a great deal of flexibility with folding and fitting the diapers as well as how many absorbent layers you can add to the diaper.  I’m writing this to let adults know that they are in good company and that there’s no reason to be ashamed of wearing adult diapers to deal with the problem. Here’s a tip – I wear the “Leakmaster Nighttime Prefold Adult Cloth Diapers” (I use the gauze diapers) covered with the “Leakmaster Deluxe” adult size pull on plastic pants (for those individuals who may not have any experience taking care of babies in cloth diapers or may not be familiar with cloth diapers, these pants are an adult size version of the baby pants used to cover cloth diapers worn by infants). The “Leakmaster Deluxe” plastic pants are made of a real thick vinyl making them more durable than other plastic pants. Plus they have vinyl enclosed elastic on both the leg and waistbands which helps prevent leaks and improves the wicking ability of the pants (wicking refers to the capability of the garment to absorb or draw off liquid). The company I buy both the diapers and plastic pants from is called “All Together Enterprises” also known as “” Here’s the link – I line the adult diaper with the Gerber brand flat and prefold baby cloth diapers which I purchase from Walmart. I also have the bed covered with plastic sheeting – I use 12 gauge frosted clear vinyl which I buy from Jo-Ann Fabric. This combination does an excellent job protecting the bed.

There are also a number of brands of disposable briefs (also known as “adult diapers”) available for managing heavier forms of incontinence such as bedwetting. I have used these as well to manage my bedwetting and have found them to be an effective means to cope with this problem. Disposable briefs are form fitting garments that have the same fit and design as baby diapers such as Pampers, Luvs, and Huggies – they have  an “hourglass” shape,  tapes for fastening the garments, elastic leg gathers to prevent leaks (many also have an elastic waistband to prevent leaks), and they also have either a waterproof plastic or cloth like outer layer. Some brands of disposable briefs that are good for managing bedwetting include ConfiDry 24/7, Wellness Superio Signature briefs, TotalDry X-Plus briefs, Molicare Super Plus briefs, Abena Abri-Form X-Plus briefs, Absorbency Plus Level 4 briefs, Seni Quatro briefs, ID Slip Maxi briefs, Tena Super briefs and Stretch Super briefs, Tena Slip Maxi, Provider’s Choice Active Ultra Plus, Forsite AM PM Maximum Absorbency briefs (available from Age Comfort a Canadian online retailer that ships to the U.S.), NorthShore Supreme, and the EuroBrief made by Mediprime.

 Although within the past 20 years or so most forms of incontinence seem to carry less stigma than they used to, the same cannot be said of adult bedwetting unfortunately. As a sufferer of this problem I have written extensively on how to manage the problem and there are a number of ways to deal with the problem in a humorous fashion. For instance, when telling your significant other that you wet the bed here is something you can say to lighten the mood (this is something to say if you use cloth diapers and plastic pants to manage your bedwetting):“Our local theater group is doing a play on Paul Bunyan and these are props from the play. These are Paul Bunyan’s baby clothes – these are his diapers and here’s his baby pants.” This is just one of many things you can say to your loved one to break the news that you wear nighttime protection because you wet the bed and is taken from my wikiHow article How to Tell a Significant Other You Wear Diapers for Bedwetting.
Finally, here’s an excerpt of another wikiHow article I’ve written called How to Reduce the Stigma of Older Children, Teenagers, and Adults Wearing Diapers for Bedwetting which may help  some come to terms with wearing diapers:“Change the definition of diaper. Most definitions of diaper define it as being a garment worn by babies. If I were responsible for writing the definition of diaper found in dictionaries I’d write something like this: “An absorbent, waterproof, protective undergarment made of either reusable or disposable material which is drawn up between the legs and fastened at the waist by tape tabs, safety pins, or other methods. It is designed for managing episodes of incontinence experienced by individuals of all ages, including babies, young children before they are potty trained, and adults, in addition to providing protection for individuals that wet the bed.”
I hope this post helps those adults suffering from adult bedwetting realize that they are not alone – there are plenty of us in the same leaky boat!
 P.S. – here’s a link to my blog “Tips on Managing Bedwetting”. Among other things this blog lists a number of resources selling disposable diapers, cloth diapers, and plastic pants for older children, teenagers, and adults that wet the bed –

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