There is a known link between sleep apnea and bedwetting.
While not every person with sleep apnea will wet the bed, and not every person who wets the bed will have sleep apnea, a relationship has been found between the two conditions which had led experts to be confident that a sleep apnea problem can directly influence bedwetting.
A person who has sleep apnea suffers from difficulty in breathing whilst asleep.
This leads to disrupted sleep patterns as well as a shifting of focus for the brain.
Where normally the brain would be at rest when a person is sleeping and thus able to direct resources to controlling bodily functions like bladder control, the brain’s of people with sleep apnea are working overtime just to take in oxygen.
This removes the brain’s energy away from basic bladder control and can bring about a resulting loss of control of the bladder; or a wet bed.
Sleep Apnea in Children
Sleep apnea is often seen in adults who are overweight.
However this is not the only cause of this all too common sleep condition.
In children, sleep apnea and snoring can come about if the adenoids or tonsils are enlarged, because the airways become blocked. Your doctor can advise whether these common issues are contributing to sleeping difficulties in your child.
A common procedure carried out on children is a removal of the enlarged tonsils and adenoids so that the airways can be cleared.
This not only improves the breathing of the child, but can bring about a total end to bedwetting if the cause of bedwetting was directly related to sleep apnea and breathing difficulties during sleep.
These two procedures are called a tonsillectomy (tonsil removal) and adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoids).
These procedures are not carried out solely to stop a bedwetting problem, but instead to resolve a sleep apnea problem. This may or may not improve the situation with a child wetting the bed, but is a first step to take in the process (and important for overall health).
Your doctor will be able to conduct diagnostic sleeping tests on your child to determine whether there is in fact sleep apnea occurring, and whether it could be a contributing factor – or even a direct cause – of your child’s bedwetting problem.
Sleep Apnea and Bedwetting in Adults
Sleep apnea has the effect of sending a signal to the brain to jolt the body awake, because the bloodstream and the brain are not receiving enough oxygen due to a blockage of the airways during sleep. This “flight” response then results in the brain receiving a signal to empty the bladder of fluids. What results then, is involuntary urination just before waking up.
What Can You Do About Sleep Apnea?
If you suffer from sleep apnea, or suspect that you or your child does, seeing a doctor and arranging a sleep diagnostic test is the best place to start.
Because sleep apnea can have such a negative effect on all aspects of life (without quality sleep, mental and physical health suffers), getting a diagnosis and treating the problem is vital. Fixing a bedwetting problem that is being brought upon by sleep apnea is of course a motivating factor – but so should be the rest of your or your child’s health.
There are many treatment options for sleep apnea in both adults and children, ranging from lifestyle improvements such as exercise to reduce weight, to devices that can be worn while sleeping which help to open the airways.
The path you take to fix your sleep apnea, or to stop it happening in your child, will depend on how severe the problem is as determined by your doctor.
Outcomes For Bedwetting When You Treat Sleep Apnea
The good news is that if you believe your child’s bedwetting problem is being caused by sleep apnea, addressing the underlying sleep disorder problem will go a long way to potentially permanently curing the bedwetting issue as well.
If a child is still regularly wetting the bed after a sleeping disorder or physical health issue is diagnosed and treated, then it’s time to take additional steps to address the bedwetting issue directly.
This can include trialing the use of a bedwetting alarm, which is a simple, affordable and non-invasive way of training the brain to wake up during the night when a person has the urge to urinate. It is certainly worth a try, with millions of people using these low cost alarms and seeing success. We’ve reviewed all the top bedwetting alarms available which you can browse through in our reviews section.