Tell us why you think bladder health awareness and education is important. Voice your opinion through a testimonial (provide only your first name or no name, testimonials will remain anonymous). If you would like to share your story please send us your testimonial. Read the below testimonials from people who have educated themselves about their bladder health and have worked to overcome their health problems.
Sam, Looking on information for Parkinson’s disease
Thank you for all of your wonderful information. You have been very helpful and supportive. I look forward to becoming more informed through the National Association For Continence with my new membership.
I am so glad you took the time to phone me and to send me a very informative email. This is very, very helpful information for me. The National Association For Continence provides excellent follow up! I sure appreciate it. My job is so hectic now, I would have had a very hard time to try to find all of this information on my own. I appreciate all of this very helpful information so much.
Jane, age 58
Overactive bladder (OAB) has been kept a tightly guarded secret for a very long time. Leave it to we baby boomers to bust wide open topics such as OAB, Menopause, etc. I’m happy to share my experience with this. I do have to say that I am on the beginning part of treatment and am not a “veteran”. I’m 58 years old, have never had children and have been overweight owing to a foot injury that I’ve hobbled around on for a couple of years. I am a work in progress with respect to OAB.
The last several years, I started to notice that I would leak through the night. I drank a lot of water and I assumed that perhaps I was sleeping so deeply that I was not getting up to visit the bathroom. I visited a urologist two years ago who had me keep a log. I was astounded to know that I was drinking WAY more water than I probably should have. I was also astounded to know that I was going to the bathroom 17 times a day!
The urologist asked me to scale back my water drinking and things did improve in terms of going to the bathroom. However, I was still leaking at night and shortly after I would get in bed. While I am menopausal, I was not having the famed hot flashes and other side effects to menopause. Fortunately the leaking was confined to only my pajama bottoms and it was mostly diluted due to the water I was drinking. It was a simple change of PJ bottoms and as my dermatologist suggested, using a cream to prevent moisture from collecting on skin which could have caused a rash.
Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t discuss this with anyone. I was too embarrassed!
I have a wonderful gynecologist, a great health plan (PPO), and a very caring urologist. With the help of these factors, I was able to start discussing my concerns. I know that I was scared of having surgery as I’d talked with women the last few years who had “sling” surgery. I also have heard of people with OAB who take pills for their condition. I’m not really a candidate for surgery nor taking pills. I really like to do anything BUT these! So I decided as with anything else to try to treat this the natural way as much as possible.
The executive director of the National Association For Continence (NAFC), Nancy Muller, was very helpful in terms of sharing with me the menu of things available to me to help my problem. She also answered countless questions for me over the course of time. The NAFC website is also excellent, chock-full of a lot of helpful things. My urologist sent me to “incontinence school.” I am a member of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation located in Santa Cruz County where I live and that instruction which combined biofeedback as well new ways of viewing and working with “going to the bathroom” and leaking really helped. I soon found myself feeling very comfortable talking about this to select people.
I also found through biofeedback how to do Kegel exercises, the gold standard of helping incontinence. I learned that it’s great to do Kegels but if you don’t know what muscles to contract, it won’t be helpful.
The costs have been very minimal save for several doctor visits, mostly co-payments and mostly an investment of time and motivation to not be one of those women as I age who constantly is visiting the bathroom, wearing special underwear and the like. I plan on repeating some of the incontinence training as I feel I could make use of more education. The PT/instructor that I worked with is highly trained in this subject and is a real rarity in a world that OAB that is very common but not spoken of as it should be.
Has any of these efforts worked so far? Yes, the knowledge that I have learned has given me hope, the support system that I have cultivated has been invaluable and most of all, as with anything that seems to work for me, I feel confident that with time, I can enjoy a lifestyle of less embarrassing (and annoying!) leaking. I have also enrolled in a weight management program, also sponsored by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation which I believe can improve things down the line, across the board. I believe that as the time went by with my foot injury, I exercised and toned less and less and one thing I learned is the muscles within our bodies can also get lax, as with the rest of the body.
I share this in hopes that my experience may help others and help others “come out of the closet” of secrecy. To keep this hidden in a world that has so many options to offer can cause unnecessary worry and inconvenience on the part of women who do have OAB.