Skip to 0 minutes and 2 secondsIt’s just a bit of a nuisance, just in terms of being up a lot during the night, you’re just constantly tired I think. You just feel like you never get a good sleep and just being wary in new situations where you don’t know where the loos are, you are just always wanting to know where there's a loo if I needed to go quickly, do you know? I mean in terms of like I used to wear pads, you know, so like if I did lose control then I felt a bit more secure but, yeah, just the urgency can come on without you knowing it.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 secondsYou know, you don’t know you could be fine one minute and the next just absolutely needing to go. So, that feeling of loss of control of your bladder. I’ve always tried to try and let it not affect what I do but it possibly does sometimes, you know I do a lot of walking and I don’t mind walking in the country because I can go behind a tree. But I am sometimes more wary if I am in public and walking or in town or about houses and things like that, or if it’s people that don’t know about my problem or people that I don’t feel I want to tell about it, I maybe wont go with them so much.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsHaving this and then knowing that there is something that can be done about it, you know, I think for a while I didn’t go and see anybody about it because you just think it’s just me and I just tried to contain it myself so I think it was really my husband that said, “Actually you need to go and see somebody about this”. So it’s him that said to me go and see somebody and I thought why didn’t I go earlier? But then people don’t want to, you know, it’s kind of a hidden problem isn’t it? I think the thing is it’s so variable and that’s the thing.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 secondsSometimes you just think this is a bad bladder day you know, and other days it can be calmer or there’s parts of the day that it’s calmer but there’s still that uncertainty because you just don’t know when it’s going to be bad. I mean I could be going several times in half an hour, when it was really bad. I can remember one journey when we were going up to Fort William hill walking and I had to stop, I don’t know how many times, to get him to stop like every 5, 10 minutes, you know any available place to go to the loo I had to stop, that’s how bad it could be.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsSo, it could be a few times within an hour that I was going. That’s stopping driving off the road to get somewhere. That’s hard. And finding it really hard on a bad day, finding it really hard to get from where I’ve parked my car to somewhere even walking that stretch when your bladder’s just about to flood and thinking I can’t walk that short distance even.

Case study: Joyce who has an overactive bladder

Meet ‘Joyce’ who is the first of our four case studies of people with different types of bladder dysfunction. Joyce has an overactive bladder.

In this video interview Joyce talks about how having an overactive bladder affects her life.

Joyce is a 64 year old woman. She is a retired nurse who was widowed two years ago. Her husband died of cancer and she cared for him during his illness. Her health is good, she has asthma which is controlled well with medication.

She found it hard to cope after her loss but during the last year she has joined several local groups and has made new friendships and started new activities including yoga, line dancing and walking.

About six months ago Joyce noticed she suddenly needed to rush to the toilet and was worried she would wet herself. On several occasions she only just made it to the toilet in time and twice in one week she did not reach the toilet before she started to pass urine.

She reduced her drinks to see if this would solve the problem. She continued with her mug of tea at meal times but cut down the amount of lemonade or water she was drinking between meals and the glass of wine at night. This helped for a short time only.

Then the desperate feeling came back and got worse, she was now needing to rush to the toilet lots of times during the day and was waking at night needing to pass urine at least twice.

Sometimes, she wet her pants as she was pulling them down before sitting on the toilet and twice wet her clothing before she got to the toilet. She did not always feel she had emptied her bladder and was frustrated as she often only passed small amounts which only dribbled out.

Joyce was worried that she would smell as she had noticed her urine had an odour at times. She was constantly washing herself and changing her underwear and sometimes she felt sore and itchy.

Joyce tried wearing a pad when she was out, but hated them, and was worried they would be seen through her clothing. She had stopped going dancing, what would she say if someone asked her why she kept going to the toilet?

Joyce was also aware that she has been struggling to open her bowels and that her motion had become harder. This has never been a problem to her before, she eats a healthy diet with five portions of fruit/vegetables every day. She was becoming anxious about this.


Your task

Read the case study and answer the following questions:

  • What makes you think Joyce has an overactive bladder?
  • What factors aggravate an overactive bladder?
  • How do you think Joyce’s bladder problem is affecting her lifestyle?
  • What do you think the implications of Joyce reducing her fluid intake might be?

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

Association for Continence Advice

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