When did you stop bed-wetting? At 3, 4, 5 years? Later on, 9, 10 maybe. If yes, you are among the 98 percent that were lucky enough to be able to transition. This is among a child’s highest achievements after potty training succeeds. Bed-wetting itself is described as a developmental issue by many specialists. It also goes by other names such as involuntary urination (this one sounds more of the definition), nocturnal enuresis (this is just a fancy name for sleep, you could leave people agape if you use this term instead of the traditional bed-wetting) or urinary incontinence.
This particular morning, I am sitted at the front seat of the Matatu, waiting for it to fill up, my destination Kenyatta University to attend a class that I know won’t happen as the lecturers are on strike. My mind wonders a few kilometres and back on a few thoughts. A guy joins me at the front and we wait, hapo nyuma ni wanne wanne. Two seconds after he has joined me, my nostrils detect a powerful smell from his side. It wasn’t those strong cheap perfumes campus dudes wear that highly irritate the nose (I would have bared that). It was that of urine. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had slept in the clothes he was wearing during the ‘incident’ and just woke up to rush to school. The stench was overbearing. Every now and then I passed my fingers by my nose to offer it some needed relief. I ensured I leaned on the driver’s side to avoid contact with him. I wouldn’t want people judging me for having an unpleasant air around me that wasn’t even mine to begin with.
The issue bothered throughout the day even after having long alighted at our destination. He must have gone about his activities without knowing the impact he left with me of him. First impression you say. It isn’t always about the looks. Why hadn’t he taken a shower or if that is so hard as it is for some males, a change of clothes at least? Did he have any friends? Will they tell him once he steps up to them? If they do, will he defend or excuse himself to clean up? Was that him all day everyday or was that day a mishap of the norm? Was he conscious of the smell himself?
Where I grew up, if you went past the age where bed-wetting was allowed, there would be a public taunting in form of a song. Children rounded up and they went around the whole area advertising you as kikojozi in a unified chant. This form of teaching although humiliating, corrected many cases which were kids not wanting to rid themselves of sweet dreams for a bathroom call. This is how it went:
Na nguo talitia moto na ndani kuna kiroboto! Hilo!
Over and over again.
If you are an adult and you are still bed-wetting, you need to seek medical attention. This might a sign of a looming illness you are overlooking as only 2% of adults are affected. In children below seven, it signifies an immature but developing bladder. That is not the case for a grown person. For all you know, you could be suffering from Diabetes insipidus, Neurological disorders, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), be having a small bladder size that can’t retain urine or it is a genetic condition (no need to be embarrassed as it could be running in the family). Yes, adult bed-wetting could be hereditary! Factors such as how much and how often you bed-wet tell a lot about what exactly is ailing you. Other causes could be stress or fear but this normally ends as soon as the stressful or fearful situation is averted and constipation: so drink and drink but mostly during the day. Don’t forget foods rich in fibres as well! The type of prescribed medication you are on is also said to increase nocturnal enuresis in adults.
You could try getting rid of this by:
-Not drinking too much or at all before bed.
-Go to the bathroom before bed even when you don’t feel the urge to.
-Set up alarms to alert you every 2 or 3 hours for the bathroom visit. Most bedwetters tend to be deep sleepers and don’t even know when they are ‘letting go’.
-Using waterproof mattress covers on the bed for an easier clean up.
-Wearing absorbent underwear to bed that absorb the liquid and prevent leakage (adult Pampers are a good example).
-Reduce or completely avoid intake of caffeine and alcohol.
-Employing skin care products such as lotions and soaps to avoid skin irritation.
-If the condition is severe, then surgical treatments can be involved.
At a typical kitchen party, you as the wife-to-be is advised to keep all your husband’s secrets. No matter what type they are. If he is suffering from urinary incontinence, then my sister you have to take the mattress out, wash the sheets and keep treating him like a man. Only the both of you should know of this condition that might cause him embarrassment if let out. A kitchen party is a pre-marital female tradition where the bride is endowed with all the necessary qualities to be a proper wife to the man. (Tanzanian kitchen parties are the best I have seen! Those women have a smart mouth…)
Hygiene is key whether or not you are a bed-wetter. As a self-diagnosed victim of either Trichomoniasis or Bacterial Vaginosis in the past(I couldn’t tell which one of the two😂), I will tell you this for free: that shower/bath you have once or twice daily can go along way in keeping your secrets safe. Coming out is accepted but not by expressing the ugly side. Show us that you got it and somehow you overcame it without serving everyone a bitter pill of your ‘dosage’.