Expert chat: Toilet problems

alina-toiletproblemsWe teamed up with Alina from specialist bowel and bladder charity ERIC to answer your questions. Alina works on ERIC's helpline answering calls, sending emails and moderating the message boards. She's heard it all, and has loads of experience talking about all kinds of toilet-related issues.

Charlie: I don't have a question specifically more of a problem. I have a problem with wetting myself, its really embarrassing.

Alina: Thanks for sharing that with us this evening Charlie. Do you tend to do a full wee or just a little bit?

Charlie: A full one.

Alina: Ah ok - during the day or at night when you're asleep?

Charlie: During the daytime. Its like there's a really short time between realising I need to go and actually going. I get up to go to the loo and it's like I can't hold it anymore :/

Alina: That's really useful to have the extra bit of detail Charlie. This kind of daytime wee accident can be caused by lots of different things but it's super common. Charlie is it a recent thing or have you always done it? If it's recent you might have a urinary tract infection which is easily treated with antibiotics.

Charlie: It's been a long term thing.

Alina: Ok thanks Charlie - if it's been going on a while there are a couple of things to check out known as 'underlying causes'. Do you have plenty to drink during the day and do you think you could be a bit constipated as this can cause sudden wee accidents (pooing less than 4 times a week or more than 3 times a day)?

Charlie: I don't always drink enough but I don't think I'm constipated no.

Alina: Thanks Charlie for sharing more details. If you take a look at this link it explains all about daytime wetting and the causes, plus treatment. It's so important to drink well as this will keep your bladder happy! Try to avoid things that can irritate your bladder like caffeine and fizzy drinks.

Charlie: I haven't ever told anyone due to embarrassment but thanks I'll check it out.

Louie: Charlie: I remember the first time I spoke to my doctor about my 'problem' and I thought she wouldn't be able to help cos of my age, but actually she was so supportive. No need to be worried or embarrassed, reaching out for support.

Charlie: Thanks Louie I'm embarrassed cos of my age but you're right

Alina: There's lots of ways your GP or the school nurse can help you - so be brave Charlie and share it with them so they can get you the help that's out there. :)

James: If you'd like to talk about it more, feel free to head over to our discussion boards.

Louie: So, I am on medication due to wetting the bed, I am 26 and have struggled with this for most of my childhood, teens and now adulthood. Do you think I will need the medication for the rest of my life and also is it normal to still have accidents even if I am on the medication, I am getting quite down about it all now. Also my medication says take daily but I worry if I am taking it to close to when I go to sleep. I haven't been on medication that long, I think I started it the end of 2016.

Alina: Thanks for your question Louie. That sounds like a difficult thing to be dealing with. Are you being treated by your GP or somebody more specialised like a urologist?

Louie: Just my GP, she wanted to refer me to a incontinence nurse, but I told her I think it's in my head cos when I am on holiday I never wet the bed. It's not all the time now cos I am on the medication, but sometimes it just really gets to me. Like I've stayed in hotels in London before, and holidays and had no issues. The medication does help a lot, and I kind of wish I spoke to my doctor sooner about it all.

Alina: Thanks Louie - it would definitely be worth seeing the nurse so they can check for underlying causes and review your meds. It's so common to be dry when we have a night away from home - not sure why that is - maybe our subconscious not letting us go into a deep sleep? That's good the medication is helping a bit Louie. Drinking well in day, stopping drinking an hour or two before bed and making sure you're not constipated are also worth focusing on.

Louie: Yeah, like I've cut down on fizzy drinks and don't have coffee later in the day, and on the whole I'm doing okay, just wanted to ask really.

Alina: I'm really pleased you have Louie. If you know roughly when it happens each night you could try setting an alarm on your mobile to wake you just before?

Louie: Yeah good idea, I'm not too sure what time it happens cos I don't wake up. Thanks so much. :)

Alina: You're welcome - try cutting out any TV or looking at phone an hour before bed as that can help too - boring I know!

Next Steps

  • ERIC supports young people with bowel or bladder conditions. Call their helpline on 0845 370 8008 Monday to Thursday 10am–2pm or email: helpline@eric.org.uk. Calls cost 9.6p per minute, plus the phone company's access charge.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

Updated on 01-Mar-2017