Reasons for Loss of Bladder Control While Sleeping

By Doug Desjardins

There are a number of causes for loss of bladder control while sleeping. They include relatively benign causes like anxiety or a reaction to medication to more serious conditions like infections or cancer. Doctors can usually diagnose the problem through a simple test or series of tests.

Urinary Tract Problems

A common cause of loss of bladder control while sleeping is a urinary tract problem. An infection of the urinary tract, a urinary tract stone or a blockage can result in the involuntary emptying of the bladder while sleeping. These problems can typically be treated with antibiotics to clear up an infection or other medication to help a person clear blockage or pass a kidney stone.


Anxiety is a common cause of nighttime bed wetting in children, but can also trigger the problem in adults. A psychiatrist is usually consulted to find the root cause of the anxiety and treat the problem. This is usually a temporary problem for children but can be a chronic problem for adults.


Some medications have been known to cause loss of bladder control while sleeping, as a side effect. They include medications taken for insomnia and those taken for psychiatric problems like thioridazine, clozapine and risperidone. Doctors will usually try another medication if the problem persists.


Loss of bladder control while sleeping may be related to diabetes. Diabetes sometimes inhibits the production of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which tells the kidneys to produce less urine when the body is asleep. Diabetes can also result in a condition called nocturnal polyuria, which prompts the kidneys to produce excessive amounts of urine at night.

More Serious Problems

In some cases, loss of bladder control at night can be caused an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. It can also be a warning sign of bladder cancer. If you experience the loss of bladder control while sleeping, consult a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. In most cases, it can be easily treated after the underlying cause is identified.

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