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How does having an overactive bladder affect a person?

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

Joyce is a 64 year old woman who has an overactive bladder. 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.

Joyce found it hard to cope after her loss but during the last year she has joined several local groups and has made new friendships. She has also 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.

What does she do?

Firstly, Joyce 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. Joyce now needed to rush to the toilet lots of times during the day and was waking at least twice during the night needing to pass urine.

Sometimes, she wet her pants as she was pulling them down before sitting on the toilet. Twice Joyce 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.

How does it impact on her life?

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.

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

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