Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Serious topic--it all Depends?

Urinary Incontinence---

If this subject embarrasses you or doesn’t apply or you don’t really care, stop reading now and come back tomorrow and I will try my best to have an amusing post then. But I really want to tell my story to any woman who has urinary incontinence and is not doing anything about it.

For almost seven years I suffered with Urinary Incontinence. I began wearing Poise pads starting with the Panti-liner gradually going to the Ultra Thin then the Regular, Extra, Extra Plus and finally graduating to the Ultra Plus pad. The next step up would be the Depends diaper.

I hated it, was embarrassed and ashamed but never once mentioned this to anyone including my doctor. Of course, my husband knew about all this but we never once talked about my “problem” together. I guess we both thought it was just part of the natural aging process and we would just have to deal with it.

I kept postponing a Pap smear and pelvic exam until three years ago when my doctor insisted that I was way overdue and insisted that I have these procedures.
During the pelvic exam the doctor discovered I had a cystocele.

After the examination was finished, he sat down with me and explained and discussed what my options were. In his opinion, we should set up an appointment with a local Urologist who was highly recommended.

After the initial examination by the Urologist he set up an appointment in one of the local hospitals for a cystoscopy. On that day, the prep staff at the urology department had my husband and I watch a film about a new procedure for women with urinary incontinence. This was called a trans-vaginal taping TVT

The cystoscopy was not too uncomfortable and the staff in the operating room was very kind and gentle and very professional. A follow-up appointment was set up to see the Urologist in his office to discuss his recommendation of the TVT. After many days of on-line research at home, I decided that I would have this procedure and an appointment was made for the operation.

I arrived at the out-patient area of the hospital a little apprehensive but also excited that maybe I would be “normal” again. The operation didn’t take too long and I was soon back in the urology recovery area where they monitored my catheter. They then did a test to check my urine output by filling my bladder with a sterile solution that I would void. If I could not void a certain amount, I would be sent home with the catheter still inserted. Let me tell you I was determined that I was going home catheter free. I passed the test with flying colours and went home that afternoon.

I spent the next four weeks at home doing nothing and did not lift anything heavier than a paper back book. I was still leaking a bit of urine but not anything like the volume that I was used to. After the month was finished I saw my Urologist who rescheduled another follow up appointment twelve weeks later. The three months flew by and I was semi-happy because I only had to wear Ultra-Thin pads instead of the bulky Ultra-Plus. The Urologist rescheduled another cystoscopy and found that the taping was too loose so rescheduled another Trans Vaginal Taping for me.

I had this operation done ten months after the original one and spent another four weeks doing nothing and lifting nothing again. No leakage, but I was in a lot of pain and after some urine tests my Urologist diagnosed a bladder and kidney infection. The next week I had another cystoscopy where it was discovered that the taping was too tight.

So back I went for my third time to have the taping loosened a little.
By this time the staff in the Urology department and operating room at the hospital was on a first name basis with me and thought that I was eligible for frequent flier miles or something like that. After the loosening of the tape I can now say that I am 100 percent dry at all times for the past year.

You are all probably wondering if I had to do it all over again, would I?
I no longer have the embarrassment of wearing incontinence pads and the worry that other people would detect an odour from me.
I had my life given back to me.

I guess I feel like Goldilocks and the three bears, the first time was too loose, the second time was too tight but the third time was just right.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your explanation. I, too have this problem and my doctor sent me for tests. They decided the weakness wasn't bad enough for an operation and prescribed 20 sessions of physiotherapy to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. (Apparently, in France they offer this treatment to all women after childbirth). Now, provided I can get to the little room on time it's not too much of a problem but I have to remember to keep doing the exercises regularly.

Bear Naked said...

Is it the Kegel exercizes that they are teaching you sablonneuse?


Oh how I wish the doctors had taught this years ago after I had children. The young mothers today are so fortunate to have so many more resources than I had as a new mother.
Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Hello again. Yes, that seems like the technique, though to start off I had to get a gadget from the chemist(bit like a sex toy) which the physio connected to her electrical appliance and it helped contract the muscles. (And, it was rather uncomfortable!) She then checked with her fingers to see if I'd got the hang of it. My only problem is remembering to do the exercises regularly.

Mental P Mama said...

That was fascinating, and I am very impressed that you were so forthcoming. The kegels are good, it's just remembering to do them, although these days, I do not want to sneeze too much. I am so glad you had such great care.

Bear Naked said...

I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed about talking about urinary incontinence. There are so many women who (like I was)don't want to discuss this.
If my posting here on my blog about my experience helps just one woman I will be happy.
Pass the word on to everyone to come read my story.

Ms. 50something said...

Thanks, Bear, for the full story. In time I'm hopeful the doctors can improve the procedure so women wouldn't have to go through this long process. I find that I do the Kegels whenever I think about it, in the car, at the theater, or now...at my computer desk! Again, thanks for sharing such a personal story for the benefit of the rest of us.

Penny Penguin said...

Thank you for your explanation. I have this problem too. I am only 44 years old and have struggled with this for 7 years. Although my doctor has been treating me with various medications he finally has recommended that I have the trans-vaginal taping procedure. It has been difficult to exercise, cough, sneeze, just lead a normal life.
Thank you for sharing your story.

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