Waking up only to discover you had been swimming in a pool of your own urine for the better part of your night can mean different things. For my neighbor’s 2 year old son, it means he had a good night’s rest. He doesn’t hesitate to yell at me: “Aunty Anu, I sleep well!” from the balcony while I walk past and wave at his mom – who is once again saddled with doing some ‘urinic’ laundry.
For my 11 year old self, it meant several things. Firstly, I had made it ‘rain’ on my poor bunkmate below who was definitely going to visit my face with a couple of dirty slaps. It also meant I was going to do the early morning walk of shame down the dormitory corridor with my dripping mattress (which by the way had my name boldly written on it with a permanent marker that stood the test of numerous bedwetting episodes) clasped under my right armpit and out to the garden behind the dormitory known to be the showroom of bedwetters masterpieces (shout out to my colleagues in the bedwetting business from way back!) To a woman, thrown out of her matrimonial home, it probably isn’t funny. The shame and stigma is unbearable, as our society has many explanations as to why a grown woman wets the bed. No amount of mattress flipping or iron-drying or blanket heaping (is it obvious how experienced I was?) on the “crime scene” can save the day. It is out in the open, she is a chronic and unrepentant bedwetter or even a witch who has to jump naked, legs wide apart over flames of fire to make the evil stop so suitors won’t reject her.
Just to get you acquainted, these are some of the reasons I was falsely told (by grandaunts who told many tortoise infested stories) about bed wetting. I never fit into any of these as I later discovered my own unique challenge.
1: If you killed a wall gecko or played too hard before you slept you were sure to ‘make it rain’.
2: If you were rude to an old man or woman using a walking stick, they could curse you with bed wetting for life.
3: Perhaps an enemy of your family is trying to get back at your parents making you an embarrassment to them.
Enough of the ridiculous reasons biko! I discovered that my love for midnight snacking and laziness to report to the Ladies when nature called got in the way of my greatness and I made up my mind to end it (Thanks also to the prayers and constant support of my late mom. RIP sweetie!) I remember having those dreams in which one is pressed and voila…one finds oneself before the white porcelain monster.
Anyway, the reason I have forcibly taken you guys through my experience arises from some story I heard over the weekend about how a woman was thrown out of her matrimonial home just 6 months after marriage because her husband couldn’t cope with the daily ordeal. His mother had helped in throwing her things out – calling her a disgrace to womanhood and a baggage her parents knowingly burdened her son with.
I wondered if the displaced wife ever mentioned it to her now-estranged husband before marriage; but the odds are that she kept it a secret from him or he wouldn’t have married her (in the words of my grand aunt). While I think thrashing one’s six month old wife based on bedwetting might be unnecessary, I would like to ask why everything must become a stigma in our society. Many people do not know this but what we call adult bedwetting is more often than not a medical condition called ENURESIS (please let me blame this one on the devil) and is more common in adult men than women (SHOCKER!!!). It is an involuntary voiding of urine i.e loss of bladder control. It can happen during the day or at night and is a very embarrassing situation that always comes in the way of personal relationships, academics, work and affects ones self-esteem.
Anyway, whether man or woman, these are the causes of adult bedwetting according to my fuel-searching weekend -long research
Fear, stress and anxiety contribute to adult bedwetting. Fear of what? Well, sadly, some adults still nurse the fear of the being alone in the darkness or silence that accompanies night time. this can be as a result of a lingering bad experience like rape, armed robbery attacks, fire outbreaks and the likes. Stress from or anxiety over work, family or a frustrating situation can also cause the involuntary loss of ones control over the bladder. This is one of the reasons one has to constantly be in control of what one allows to occupy one’s mind.
My people, this is another one I discovered o! One can actually inherit bedwetting genes or at least thats what science says. I don’t even know what to think of this (Please feel free to educate us on this in the comments section) Now moving on!
Adult bedwetting can also be an indicator that one has some other disease. Diseases such as: Type I Diabetes, Urinary Tract Infections, bladder stones, bladder and prostrate cancers are more popular in this regard but other cases might include: spinal cord injury in which a person is totally paralysed, post-natal vaginal flatulence (when the muscles of the birth canal have not got their strength back), side effects of some drugs and suprisingly caffeine overdose. Yes o! Coffee lovers especially. One of the things an overdose of caffeine can do to you is cause uncontrollable muscle movements and your bladder muscles are not spared.
While my list might not be exhaustive, it should at least educate the other women who clap over that woman’s head calling her Atole;the husband or boyfriend who simply doesn’t understand how or why a grown woman should wet the bed or even the young lady that ran for her dear life when she discovered that her crush for years wets his pants.
For you who finds yourself in this embarrasing predicament, my advise to you would be to seek medical help. Surgery has succeeded in correcting a good number of cases of enuresis and some other temporary options like alarms, adult diapers or plastic pants have also helped.
It can’t be easy going through this, so counselling will go a long way in helping you stay sane through the storm. If you believe in prayers then seek God’s ever-available help concerning this matter. Also, no one knows you like you, so if you have habits, (like late night snacking, excessive drinking e,t,c) addictions or other lifestyle patterns that might be contributory to this problem, you might want to call it quits.
Finally, dear public, please be nice enough to help someone through enuresis a.k.a bedwetting instead of stigmatizing or ostracising him or her.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Racorn