Why did I wet the bed?
March 18, 2009 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I wet the bed last night. Tell me if I have anything to worry about and how to get rid of the smell.

I slept longer than usual last night, by about 4 hours. I was in the middle of an extended dream when I began urinating in the dream. I woke up a few seconds later to find that I was urinating on myself in the bed. I went to the bathroom to clean up. When I came back, I found that the sheet, mattress pad, and mattress had all been soaked through.

I am a healthy (AFAIK) 22 year old female who never had this problem as a kid. To make things worse, I share a bed with my SO. He was gone by the time this happened, but I'm still embarrassed by the thought that he might find out this happened. How do I make the smell go away from the mattress? We'll be buying a new one in a few weeks, but I need a solution until then. And why did I do this? I'm usually woken up by my full bladder, and it makes me nervous (I read the Babysitter's Club books as a kid, so I remember the bit about Stacey wetting the bed leading to her finding out about diabetes).

I also don't have health insurance. Throwaway email at disgusted22 at gmail dot com.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Once I had dust mites living in my bed and I vaccuumed them out. I wonder if the same principles apply to a wet vaccuum? I think you can rent those at the grocery store. You could also try throwing some baking powder on there as it absorbs smells.

I'm a little nervous saying this not-anonymously... I NEVER wet the bed as a child but I did once when I was 20 (sober, alone, dreaming). It never happened before then and didn't happen since.
posted by cranberrymonger at 12:09 PM on March 18, 2009

Same thing happened to me a few years ago, right down to the dream, and I remembered the thing about Stacy in the BSC books, as well! I went to the doctor, who said it was absolutely nothing to worry about unless it happened regularly - I pressed him for a definition of 'regularly', and he said at least 3 times in a 6 month period.
Re. the mattress - I used a stiff brush and some foaming upholstery cleaner on the wet spot, covered it in baking soda, left it to dry with a fan aimed at it, and then vacuumed up the soda once it dried before flipping the mattress and forgetting about it. I never smelled a thing, if you're going to get rid of your mattress soon you'll be fine.
posted by Wroksie at 12:12 PM on March 18, 2009

Sprinkle some Borax all over the wet part of your mattress, let dry, and vacuum. It'll help with the smell as well as the damp. If you're uncomfortable with laying back down on the same sport, flip your mattress, but put a towel between the mattress and the box spring.

I wouldn't worry too much, health-wise, unless this becomes a recurring event. [I remember Stacey, too.]
posted by alynnk at 12:15 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

We've had this issue with our dog, and with a visiting toddler. Here is what we do:

1/ Blot the wet patch thoroughly with a towel

2/ Use a pot filled with water and a NON-AMMONIA cleaner and scrub the mattress.

3/ Blot with a second towel

4/ Sprinkle with Arm & Hammer baking soda (or Borax)

5/ Hoover when dry

6/ Flip the mattress*

7/ Open a window

8/ Re-make the bed at the last possible moment, giving it time to air out

9/ Launder the towels and the sponge in hot water.

If you have non-carpeted floors, you can mop them with a clean bucket of water and your non-ammonia cleaner to sort of explain the smell and make it non-specific to the bed.

*Our beds have slats and not box springs; YMMV.

posted by DarlingBri at 12:21 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nature's Miracle odor remover really is pretty miraculous. Blot it down as much as possible, spray some of that stuff, then blot it down some more.

Also? You share a bed with your S.O. He has a right to know, and to stick you with that side of the bed until the new one comes, if he so chooses. It's not unheard of and unless it starts happening regularly isn't a cause for concern, but it's also not a good reason to lie by omission to someone you care about.
posted by booknerd at 12:24 PM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

Ditto for telling your SO.
posted by radioamy at 12:27 PM on March 18, 2009

Pick up some Nature's Miracle at pet supply store (or I've also seen it at Target). It's an enzyme liquid made to remove pet urine odors, but I can speak from experience that it does a miraculously fantastic job removing human urine from a mattress. Just utterly saturate the spot on the mattress (really soak it, more is better) and let it dry. This will take longer than you expect as it's a lot of liquid and the mattress is very . You might want to sleep on the couch for a night or two and then cover the spot with a few layers of towels to sleep on the next few nights. Just be sure to uncover it again during the day so the drying can continue.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2009

Oh, for god's sake, it's not a lie by omission to not report all bodily function mishaps to your SO. You deserve some amount of privacy in this area, if you aren't comfortable sharing. Follow the cleaning and odor-removal suggestions here, launder (or replace) the mattress pad, make the bed with freshly clean sheets, and your SO should be fairly well protected from coming into contact with any of your urine residue or scent.

Don't worry about it, health-wise, unless it happens again. I think it's just a one-off, given you slept long and had a full bladder. Clean up and laugh it off, I say.
posted by JenMarie at 12:49 PM on March 18, 2009 [12 favorites]

As a mother of small children, I agree that enzyme cleaner is what you want. You can get it at the grocery store, in the pet section. I've tried various brands and they all seem to work more or less the same.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:52 PM on March 18, 2009

I share a bed with my SO. He was gone by the time this happened, but I'm still embarrassed by the thought that he might find out this happened.

I'd share that with him, share your concerns and fears. That's what a partner is for. He could probably help set your mind at ease.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:55 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have a potty training 2 1/2 year old. Nature's Miracle is the way to go.
posted by anastasiav at 12:56 PM on March 18, 2009

My mom always used corn starch on animal messes -- sprinkle to coat, let sit and then vacuum up. This was back in the day before Nature's Miracle.
posted by amanda at 1:08 PM on March 18, 2009

I recall once seeing the technique of folding a towel up over the damp patch, and jumping up and down on said towel. Great fun, and it helps remove the moisture too. Then follow with baking soda/whatever.
posted by Solomon at 1:16 PM on March 18, 2009

Having a senior, incontinent dog (as well as potty trained children), I can absolutely vouch that Nature's Miracle works on mattresses. You can get it at any pet store. It's not necessarily cheap, but worth every cent. Just douse the spot, cover with a thick towel, and make the bed. Done and done.

With regard to telling your SO, just keep it to yourself. Shit (well, in this case, pee) happens.
posted by dancinglamb at 1:35 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Man, I totally had the same thing happen once, and I even thought about Stacey from The Babysitter's Club when it happened (we are roughly the same age, so I guess it makes sense).

But, I wouldn't be too worried unless it happens again. I wet the bed once randomly when I was maybe 18 or 19 and was kind of freaked out, but it's never happened since. I think it was just that I was sleeping really hard that night and my full bladder didn't wake me up. I was also dreaming that I was going to the restroom. That seems really common.

You should probably tell your partner. If he's cool, he may either be concerned, or think it's really funny and laugh at you (which I wouldn't be offended by). If he gets mad or treats you weirdly, he needs to grow up.
posted by fructose at 1:38 PM on March 18, 2009

Don't worry about it, this happens to me about once a year... I dream I'm taking a long pee, and wake up having pissed myself. Hell, the last time it happened I even dreamed that I woke up, and was changing clothes, getting ready to go back to bed... but I was still dreaming! Hah.

I told my gf, it's no big deal... she isn't bothered by it. We have a very lightweight cover on our mattress (not the heavy vinyl ones) that isn't noticeable, but is waterproof so it keeps anything from going into the mattress.

Haven't seen a doctor about it, but I think this is not uncommon as you get older. I am 31 and it started happening about 5 years ago. My gf even says that, while she hasn't pissed herself, she does have to get up and go to the bathroom more often in the middle of the night. Neither one of us can sleep 8 hours without getting up to pee at least once.

I think it is something that just happens to some people... could also be affected by how much you drink within a couple hours before going to bed. Make sure you finish dinner and any drinks (esp alcohol) at least 2 hours before sleep.
posted by bengarland at 1:40 PM on March 18, 2009

I pissed my bed once when I had been exhausted and totally sleep deprived for a few months running (right after I had a baby). I was totally wigged by the incident and felt sure I was loosing my mental or physical capacities - or both. It really took me months to realize I had just been so, so tired that I hadn't roused myself to go to the toilet. This was 6 years ago and it's never happened again.

Now that my kid is 6, I've become quite experienced at cleaning pee out of mattresses. I scrub it with water and just a little spray cleanser or vinegar, then I cover the wet spot in a thick layer of baking soda, then I quick dry it by cranking up a space heater and closing the door, then I vacuum the whole thing up a few hours later.

Good luck!
posted by serazin at 1:41 PM on March 18, 2009

That I can recall, I've pissed while asleep twice, once as a kid, and a few years ago. Both times I was taking a leak in a washroom in a dream. The urge just hits you at a bad time in the sleep cycle I guess and just gets wired into the dream. If possible depending on your climate, you can also try/add airing the mattress outside.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 1:57 PM on March 18, 2009

Enzyme cleaner, all the way.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:22 PM on March 18, 2009

You've had plenty of good advice about how to clean the bedding and mattress, just wanted to chime in with an "I've been there" anecdote. I was in my mid-20s, lived alone, and was having a dream (which I still recall vividly) that I was in this large public restroom and kept looking in stall after stall for a "clean" toilet (every one had yuck in it or on the seat and around it). When I finally found a suitable commode, I used it and then suddenly awoke because I'd peed myself. I was totally embarrassed (even though I was alone) and worried that I had some strange, undiagnosed disease. I hesitantly mentioned it to my doctor during a routine appointment many months later, and he shrugged it off and said that if it only happened that one time, I was probably in such a deep sleep that even though my brain knew I needed to go to the bathroom, it was unable to awake me in time. (All my tests - blood sugar, etc - were normal.)
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2009

A few months ago, I wet the bed, was very upset about it, but then developed symptoms of a urinary tract infection! Turns out wetting the bed can be a symptom as well. You mention a SO, so I assume you are sexually active, that always does it for me, so maybe see if any UTI symptoms show up?
posted by teragram at 3:07 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

The enzyme cleaners, such as Nature's Miracle, really do work. Be sure to follow the directions; they're different that those for most cleaners.
posted by wryly at 3:34 PM on March 18, 2009

I did this (also had the dream) when I was at my freshman orientation weekend for college. Talk about being mortified!!! I was totally freaked out! No cleaning advice (I flipped the bunk mattress and never told anyone. Ewwww!!!) Just wanted to offer a BTDT.
posted by pearlybob at 4:50 PM on March 18, 2009

I very much disagree on any need for disclosure. Just like it is not important to share whether that you had to plunge the toilet or that time that your tampon leaked and stained your jeans, just like your boyfriend doesn't need to point out a skid mark on underwear that shared a washer with yours, it is not important to disclose a little urine.

One other cause I can think of is that for some people, a UTI can cause you to lose control of your bladder. If you're having other UTIish symptoms, go get checked out.
posted by desuetude at 5:36 PM on March 18, 2009 [5 favorites]

It's too late for this to help now, probably, but if you can't get to a pet store, try what we're using with our pup: spray it with vinegar and then sprinkle with baking soda, and vacuum up the baking soda. Leave windows open for air drying.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:54 PM on March 18, 2009

Haha. I can relate. I never wet the bed as a kid, and I actually pride myself on being able to hold it for however long I want--I make fun of people who have to stop for pee breaks on trips. Anyway, two years ago, as a 35 year old adult male, I spent the night at my parents house one Christmas eve and I think I wet THEIR guest bed...though it may have been a lot of sweat (mom buried me in a ton of blankets). I was freaked out--wondering if there was some deep-seated, freudian reason one might wet the bed on Christmas eve at his/her parent's house. Anyway.

It was humiliating because (a) it would be bad if I didn't address it and mom noticed something, and/or (b) if I did address it, who's to say whether they would believe me that it was the first/only time it ever happened ("So that's why he can't get a girlfriend."). The good news is, it only happened that once. NOTE: I handled the situation by greeting everyone at breakfast and exclaiming, "Last night I was either sweating a whole lot or I pissed the bed a little." Everyone laughed and that was that...as far as I know.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:23 PM on March 19, 2009

This has happened to me a couple of times (dreamed of urination, actually started urinating), and I don't think you should be that embarrassed, as I've actually heard it's quite common. The times that it has happened, I was very tired and in a deep sleep. Also both times that it happened to me, I was dreaming that I REALLY had to pee, was in a public place, but couldn't find an acceptable toilet to use. The toilets were all either indescribably filthy or there was no door on the stall (I'm a girl). Then I would finally find a toilet and start peeing in the dream so that by the time my body woke up, I was past the point where I could stop peeing. Weird right?

Anyways, if you're worried about this happening again, you could get one of those vinyl covers for your mattress, and if your SO wants to know why just tell him it's for your allergies. Doctors commonly recommend them to people who have dust and mold allergies.
posted by katyggls at 12:21 AM on March 20, 2009

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