Living With An Overactive Bladder

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Before I had my bladder removed I suffered for years with an overactive bladder. This would mean the minute I felt I had to go to the loo, I really HAD to go!

I remember as a child, that I would often have ‘accidents’ and sometimes I would let a little bit of urine out, without being totally aware that it was happening. On top of this I would also wet the bed, right up to my teenage years. I swear that sometimes I would be dreaming I had got up and walked to the toilet, sat on the loo and the moment I started to pee, I would wake up. I was teased badly by other children and my mum would get angry, which I guess was not surprising. 

I was never invited to sleepovers as I would end up wetting the bed. 

I remember camping with family when little and I desperately wanted to sleep on the top bunk of the caravan bunkbeds, much to my cousin’s disgust when I peed the bed that night. I stayed away from dandelions (pee-the-beds) and the whole thing really affected my self-worth and self-esteem when I was younger. 

I was seen by various consultants, my drinks were limited after 5pm, they tried suppositories and various different medications, but nothing seemed to help so I learnt to live with it. 

From my twenties upwards, the ‘let’s go out and get drunk’ stages of my life, I knew that if I consumed alcohol, I would probably end up peeing a little, so I took to wearing sanitary towels when I went out. I would also make sure that I knew where the loos were in the pubs we were going to. 

After I had my son, it got worse. Sneezing, coughing and even laughing could mean a little pee seeped out.

I worked on my pelvic floor exercises to no avail. Did I get any help when I was older? Nope! I was far too embarrassed to speak to anyone about it. It was my secret shame. 

On average I would get up between two to three times a night to pee, but if I had a urinary tract infection I would be up nearly every hour, on the hour and it would feel like I hadn't slept. Still I kept quiet...

It was only when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer that I realised I should have asked for help - there is help out there. There are things that can be done to help with an overactive bladder. 

An overactive bladder is defined as… "A sudden, uncontrolled need or urge to urinate. Some people will leak urine when they feel this urge. Another symptom is the need to pass urine many times during the day and night." - Please if you’re suffering with this, or any other urinary symptoms visit your doctor and get referred to a urologist. There is no need to be embarrassed.

by Anita Brown

Anita Brown

About the author

Hi I’m Anita Brown. Diagnosed with terminal small cell bladder cancer in April 2016. I've had palliative chemo and radiotherapy, and a radical cystectomy and urostomy in August 2017.

I've had problems with my bladder all my life, from incontinence, to kidney and bladder stones, and now cancer. I would like to share some of my experiences - follow me on Twitter.

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