Please note, this is one reader’s personal experience and for general information purposes only. If you experience anything similar to the above, always consult your own doctor.

“One night a couple of years ago, I was fast asleep in bed when I suddenly I woke up with a start. It felt really wet and cold underneath me. My first thought was, ‘Oh no, I think I just peed my pants’. Isn’t that why babies wake up, after all? It felt like all the water had left my body. It was so uncomfortable and I was seriously freaked out. I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. It just happened randomly that night. I hadn’t drunk alcohol or felt sick at all.

The next day I called my doctor’s office and when they asked what it was about, I said, ‘I’m not going to tell you, it’s too embarrassing!’ They said they would put it down as confidential. When I got there, my doctor said, ‘So what is this big surprise or secret?’ When I told her she just said, ‘Don’t worry, you just peed your pants, no big deal’. I was like, ‘Uh-uh, I don’t know about that’. I couldn’t believe she was so nonchalant about it!

She explained that as women get older our uterine wall gets thinner and so sometimes you can’t hold your urine. She told me to do Kegel (link) exercises, like when you’ve had a baby by vaginal birth. She gave me a piece of paper with the exercises printed on and I thought, okay, I’ll give it a try. But they didn’t work.

For a few years leading up to the bed wetting incident, I’d had a hard time holding my pee. I’d need to go to the bathroom and be like, ‘I need the toilet! Where is it?!’ I’d rush to it and almost not be able to hold my pee. I never had accidents or had to wear adult diapers – I didn’t want to get like that. But then the bed wetting night happened and I got scared.

I carried on doing the Kegels but there was never any significant improvement. I didn’t wet the bed again but I was still always running to the bathroom. A friend told me it happened to her too, which made me feel better. I was only in my mid-fifties though and I knew there must be a better solution.

Around that time, I got a second job in the evenings working in a deli, to supplement my small business income, and the solution came along by accident. The job involved regularly lifting pretty heavy boxes so I gradually built-up muscle mass throughout my body and I felt much stronger as the weeks went on. I actually enjoyed it, too.

I thought all kinds of depressing things like, ‘You really do fall apart after you’re 50’ and, ‘I’m going to be an incontinent old lady’

The result of building muscle all over was that I seemed to have more bladder control. I worked out if I did more weight bearing exercises that strengthened muscles all over my body, by becoming stronger I could hold my pee longer. It made sense, but Kegels was all the doctor ever advised.

I can only go by my experience but in my opinion, if you experience what I did that night, doctors should be telling you to do weightlifting exercises, if you can, not just Kegels. It strengthens your entire body. The peeing never happened again.

The whole thing had really freaked me out. I was scared because try being an adult and peeing your pants in your sleep! I thought all kinds of depressing things like, ‘You really do fall apart after you’re 50’, ‘I’m going to be an incontinent old lady at this stage’ and ‘It really must be all downhill from now on…’ It was hard – I was only in my mid 50s.

It’s been two years now of doing weights to help with bladder control so that I don’t have to run to the bathroom like a crazy person. I’m 57 now, and what’s the difference? I sleep better because I know I’m not going to wet the bed, and that’s pretty significant to me. I’ve also found out that this is apparently quite common in women in mid life. I thought it was just me.”

The author wishes to remain Anonymous.