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Thread: Bed wetting and PTSD

  1. #1

    Exclamation Bed wetting and PTSD

    Hi everyone!

    I am new to adisc and wanted some thoughts from more experienced members. I haven't shared my story with anyone but my therapist, so here goes:

    I experienced multiple sexual, physical, and psychological traumas from age five to about age thirteen. I developed mental health issues at age 12 but never opened up about the sexual abuse until a year ago. I will not go into details but at one point I urinated on my abuser in fear and was also abused in the bathroom. Since then I have always had anxieties about having accidents like during the abuse. I wet the bed off and on as a child, but when I disclosed the abuse in counseling my bed wetting became increasingly problematic. I went from having accidents occasionally, to a few times per week, to pretty much every now night... Sometimes multiple times per night. I will occasionally have daytime accidents during severe flashbacks also. According to my GP there is nothing medically wrong with me.

    My therapist knows about my accidents and says that they won't get better until I deal with the abuse. I have so much anger, frustration, shame, and loss of self esteem since the accidents got worse. I finally caved six months ago and decided to eschew wet sheets and PJs for diapers. My sleep quality is better, my skin isn't irritated anymore, but sometimes I feel like diapers make me feel worse about myself. I feel so ashamed and no one knows- not even my family. I finally just told my therapist about the diapers because even though they help me, they also humiliate me.

    Has anyone else had bed wetting caused by PTSD? How long did it last? How did you cope with it? Even if trauma is not the cause of your bed wetting, how do you cope both practically and emotionally with IC, using protection, etc?

    Thanks for the support!

  2. #2



    I am also facing a similar situation. My doctors think it's because my brain can't process the trauma so it's manifesting in physical symptoms. I've been wearing diapers as well, and although it's embarrassing, I feel a bit safer now that I don't need to worry about wet clothes or people finding out. My team says they believe the problem will get better the more I begin to deal with the trauma and PTSD.

  3. #3


    Dealing with incontinence can be really hard. Though my incontinence is not due to PTSD I do have it. First thing to realize is that there is nothing wrong with wearing a diaper. Adult diapers are in existence for a reason. There are like 25 million people in america alone that deal with incontinence. This is not even the elderly this is younger people that suffer from it. So wearing a diaper keeps your bed dry and saves you a lot of work. It gives you peace of mind that you will wake up to just a wet diaper and not a wet bed clothing and blankets. Don't feel ashamed about it. Just think of it as your night time underwear. I know it is hard to cope with it but we are all here to help you feel better about it and give you tips.

  4. #4


    I have never been able to find a name for the things that happened to me as a child. I don't know if I gave out a gay vibe, but growing up, there were a number of boys who did sexual things with me. They were my best friends and I don't know if they were attracted to me, in love with me, or just horny. I was too young to understand what sex was, so I was confused and very uncomfortable with it. Eventually I would be in a gay relationship when I was in college. That was okay and something I wanted, but it also led to a lot of self destructive behavior as well.

    I'm not a psychologist, but I do know that defense mechanisms to unwanted sexual advances, especially a child, is to pee and even poop. It's a classic response and I'm sure you could find millions of examples. I think that there's a statistic that one in four girls will be raped, and one in five boys, so there are millions.

    We all find ways to cope. Your subconscious has found this way. I think talking about it will help. The only one I've told is my wife, because I don't want other people to know my past, or my past lifestyle. It was a long time ago and we were taught that if it happened, it was probably our fault. If not our fault, we should have been man enough to deal with it. I always had to fight my own battles because my parents thought it would make me stronger. What happened however was that I had two psychotic breaks before I was 22 years old.

    Talking it out and writing about it is liberating. I've already written one novel and I have one more in me, the story of this abused life. I wish you well and for what it's worth, hugs, because you need them. We all do.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the responses. This is really the first time I've truly talked about how I feel about IC. It's hard to do but be 100% honest and open in counseling.

    I've tried to think about diapers are "no big deal" and are just something I have to use... "Nighttime underwear,just like glasses" etc. but I think it's the sense of shame from being so secretive about the accidents and now diapers to maintain dryness. I mean, I did go to my GP for advice and she actually recommended using protection a long time ago, when this first began but I was just stubborn, haha. So I know logically I shouldn't be ashamed. I don't want anyone to know, but I feel like the more secretive I am about it, the ore embarassed I am. I would ultimately like to be in a place where I can talk it out with my counselor without fear or freezing up or withholding information. I think I'd feel liberated.

    I have been told bed wetting is a response to traumatic events. A part of me feels like the accidents are due to the fact that I had an accident during the abuse and received abuse in the bathroom. Sometimes it just feels like I'm reliving the abuse. I'm not an ABDL, though I have nothing against it... Different strokes for different folks, right? Still I sometimes feel "funny" as I call it in therapy when I wake up to an accident. I think it is a sexual feeling but I'm not entirely sure. Besides the abuse I've had only one other experience which wasn't sex but was also abusive. My education on sexuality is pathetic, since I was a sick kid and spent much of my adolescence in hospitals I never received any sort of information about sex or maturity from my parents or school (I missed over 2 years combined of middle/high school). This is something my therapist is educating. It definitely bothers and confuses me that feeling funny and waking up to an accident feel the same- tension, fullness, needing to pee NOW, etc. Any thoughts on that?

  6. #6


    I have night time enuresis. Started for me kind of how you describe for you -- as an adult when I started doing some intense emotional work on my past. I never wet as a little kid except as a toddler - but at like 29 it came to me with a vengeance.

    For me, I've always been a DL so using protection was a little more natural. Still- lots of shame involved especially when traveling or among groups. I went to several different specialists and none of them could identify a physical problem (urology, neurology, sleep specialists, mri studies) - after all of these my GP suggested that it might be psychological.

    After discussing it more wth my therapist, we both agreed that my past childhood trauma involving a traumatic death in my family, abandonment, emotional abuse, incest, etc - was probably the contributing factor. Also - my weight (which is in the morbidly obese category).

    After several more years of counseling and therapy for ptsd (including a really great one called EMDR, highly recommended) I now am only wetting a few times per month and don't wear diapers every night anymore. I'm now working on losing weight to hopefully knock out the rest.

    I like diapers. But I feel you - NEEDING them, especially in public settings, can be a bit nerve wracking and shame inducing.

    Good luck to you! Hope you are able to work through your stuff and come out the other side I good shape.

  7. #7


    Thanks. I don't actually mind wearing them so much. It is actually kind of a comfort, knowing that my bed will be dry. They're not uncomfortable. Even though nobody knows it's hard to not feel ashamed thinking "well what if they knew..." I think I am more worried about others finding out, especially my parents. I honestly don't think I'd care so much otherwise. It's annoying to wet the bed but if I never worried about others finding out, I really don't think I'd care. Yeah knowing I don't have control makes me angry but I am working on accepting it.

    Today I see my counselor and we'll talk more about it but I think I just need some reassurance and guidance that I'm taking care of my IC the right way. I almost just want some approval that it's OK. Similarly if I needed glasses for an astigmatism, I'd just want someone to tell me that it's what you need to do to correct it. I know that the therapeutic process will correct the accidents (hopefully), and that diapers don't fix it, just manage it. But managing bed wetting is not really something that at 20 you're expected to cope with. It can be overwhelming.

    I'm glad you have improved both mentally and physically! It is always inspiring to talk with others who made its tough trauma and are here to share wisdom and hope. . If you don't mind me asking, how long did therapy/ recovery take you? I've been in therapy sporadically for about 8 years. I always wished my parents would have noticed some of my abnormalities growing up. An earlier intervention might have prevented a lot of heartache later on in life.

  8. #8


    I don't feel I am a professional. But you are saying you are worried if your parents find out about your bedwetting. Assuming your abuser was not a parent. I do not see why telling your parents about your accidents is a bad thing. Now I understand its a big embarrassing thing I get that. I think if you tell them you are handling the issue and have seen a doctor about the issue and you are wearing diapers to keep your bed dry at night. I would assume they would support you and you should feel ok being around them. Now I do not know the full story of your past and there may be something holding you back from doing this. How ever telling your parents you bed wet is ok. How ever you do not need to tell them about your traumatic past. I am sure that is something you may or may not do in the future. Now I am not saying go tell your parents. I am just saying why not. Most parents will support you in this. I know if I had bedwetting issues my parents would support me 100%. Getting the guts to tell them will always be the hard part.

    Any ways good luck in therapy. I will keep up on your story. I want to see what comes of you.


    It is perfectly normal for people who are bed wetters to wear diapers at night.... Ever heard of good nights. They are diapers. Hell from what I have read. Your doctor suggested you should wear diapers heh.

  9. #9


    Hey hipster

    I too have some incontinence issues arising or exacerbated by my ptsd following my car crash. I get these intense emotional states, flashbacks or episodes of strong anxiety and fear and start shaking, tensing and hurting and I often start leaking quite a bit. Also during these bouts I really don't want to go and find a toilet - really just wanna curl up in a ball. So diapers are indeed helpful.
    But I would much rather not live with the intense fear

  10. #10


    My parents try to be supportive of me but they always end up doing more harm than good. They also don't know about the abuse, which is something I have not decided whether or not to disclose. I talked to my therapist today and she was supportive of the diapers for my health's sake, but we discussed how they have a stigma. I am glad I brought it up. We talked about coping and instead of getting down on oneself, replace negative thoughts with the reality of the situation. "My body experiences trauma this way and it's not my fault... I am not stupid, dumb, or bad. It can get better by working on things in therapy. Soon I won't be so scared at night." I just wish the process wasn't so slow.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kdlstarry9 View Post
    Hey hipster

    I too have some incontinence issues arising or exacerbated by my ptsd following my car crash. I get these intense emotional states, flashbacks or episodes of strong anxiety and fear and start shaking, tensing and hurting and I often start leaking quite a bit. Also during these bouts I really don't want to go and find a toilet - really just wanna curl up in a ball. So diapers are indeed helpful.
    But I would much rather not live with the intense fear

    I also had some bed wetting reoccurrence after a severe car accident at age 12 (nearly killed half my family). When I have daytime flashbacks I have similar symptoms. It sucks but luckily it's almost always at home.

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