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Embarrassing Bodies, 11:10pm Monday 1st September 2014 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

Video

Dr Pixie V/O:
48 Year old Pamela has a condition that millions of women will sympothize with.

Pamela V/O:
I feel as if I smell all the time. I tend to wear dark jeans, ‘cause the dark trousers and that, it don’t show and I don’t feel it’s ever gonna get any better, it can only get worse.

Dr Pixie:
It’s embbarrassing, but she’s summoned the courage to break her silence.

Pamela:
I’ve problems with me waterworks, should we say, and sometimes there’s just a dribble, but sometimes it’s a proper full-blown wee. [nervous laugh]

Dr Christian:
Talk me through what you feel; if you get pains, if you get-

Pamela:
No, I don’t get any pain, I just don’t get any warning. Well I would just be sitting, talking to you like this, and all of a sudden I would be like [gestures]

Dr Christian:
So you don’t even feel like you need to go to the loo?

Pamela:
No

Dr Christian:
There isn’t that little bit of pressure in your bladder?

Pamela:
No

Dr Christian:
How often do you wet yourself?

Pamela:
Probably every day. I would say every day.

Dr Christian:
Gosh, so this really affects your life.

Pamela:
Yes, yeah.

Dr Pixie V/O:
Pamela’s problems makes the things the rest of us take for granted impossible.

Pamela V/O:
I tend to stay local if I’m going for a drink. When I was out, er, for a night out, the queue was too long for the toilet and I waited and waited and I was soaked by the time I got there. I feel a bit ashamed, I think, when I have an accident. I’m only in me fourties and I didn’t expect this would happen already, you know. I just want to cry.

Dr Pixie V/O:
Too embarrassed to talk, Pamela just learned to live with it.

Dr Christian:
How long have you left it for?

Pamela:
Oh, well, me oldest daughter’s 26, so… [nervous laugh]

Dr Christian:
Why has it been going on for so long?

Pamela:
I don’t know. It’s because you don’t talk about it, I guess. It is very embarrassing.

Dr Christain:
What you’re describing is, er, actually a very common condition and it’s probably really undiagnosed because women don’t come forward to the doctor’s ‘cause they’re embarrassed.

Pamela:
Right.

Dr Christian:
There’s two main types of incontinence: one is when you pee yourself when you don’t want to-

Pamela:
Right, yeah

Dr Christian:
stress incontinence. What you’re describing is something called urge incontinence, which is when you feel that urge, you absolutely have to go and you can’t really do anything about it. But, the good news is, we can do something about it and it’s definately

Pamela:
Good

Dr Christian:
I think we should think about a treatment using botox for you. You know botox?

Pamela:
You get it in your forehead, yeah.

Dr Christian:
You get it in your forehead. How does that sound?

Pamela:
Strange

Dr Christian:
Does it?

Pamela:
Scary

Dr Christian:
Scary? Not a bad thing if it’s sorting this out, is it? Alright. Does that sound reasonable?

Pamela:
Great, thank you very much.

Dr Pixie V/O
Before Pamela can be treated, a surgeon needs to run some tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Surgeon:
If you’re ready we’ll, we’ll start there. Can you just do a small cough for me please. Well I can see very clearly that there’s a big pressurize in the bladder and that’s all, er, because your bladder is contracting. I think we’ve got our diagnosis.
These are really very high bladder pressures, which are literally off the graph here. You’re probably in the worst 10 percent or so of patients that I’ve seen with this disorder. So, on that basis, I think you’ll do very well with botox.

Pamela:
Good

Dr Pixie V/O:
Botox might be better known for smoothing wrinkles but it’s also used to relax muscles in conditions like cerebral palsy, stroke, and, as in Pamela’s case, overactive bladders.

Surgeon:
We’ll just check that the bladder’s alright, it looks fine on that side, fine on that side. So lets put the sheath down the scope and into the bladder so we’ll see it coming out of the tithe scope any second now.
OK, needle out please, Jane. Thank you. Little air bubble. Lets make sure we avoid the, er, crucial areas and, er, particularly blood vessels. OK. Could you inject the first 1 mil please?

Dr Pixie V/O:
The idea is is that injecting botox staright into the muscle will relax the bladder’s constant urge to wee.

Surgeon:
And again, please. Good. Well done. 200 units of botox in there nicely, er, spread around the contractile parts of the bladder, so yeah, very pleased.

Dr Pixie V/O:
Four weeks after her surgery, Pamela’s bursting to give Dr Jessen the news.

Dr Christian:
Pamela, hi, how are you?

Dr Pixie V/O:
So, did the botox smooth things over?

Dr Christian:
The big million dollar question is: has it worked?

Pamela:
It’s worked wonderfully.

Dr Christian:
Really?

Pamela:
Oh, I can have three cups of tea now and I don’t wanna go to the toilet. It’s great.

Dr Christian:
And you haven’t had one accident then since?

Pamela:
No, not one.

Dr christian:
Gosh, that’s fantastic. Are you happy?

Pamela:
I’m great, yes, it’s wonderful, yes.

Dr Christian:
Has it changed your life?

Pamela:
Yes. It’s not on me mind all the time about if I go shopping how, how far before the next toilet and things like that, so-

Dr Christian:
You look a different lady. You look very happy. You’re not sitting there worrying about when you’re gonna have to rush off to the loo! You’re still in dark trousers-

Pamela:
Well, yes, it’s the winter. I’ll get white ones for the summer.

Dr Christian:
Oh, you will wear white ones, will you? Gosh, that’s a huge difference then, isn’t it?

Pamela:
Yes, yes, it’s wonderful.

Dr Christian:
So are you happy?

Pamela:
I’m over the moon, yes.

Dr Christian:
Enjoy your summer now. Wear your white trousers and don’t worry about where the loos are, go shopping for hours and hours and drink gallons of tea! It’s good for you.

Pamela:
Yeah.

Dr Christian:
Thank you very much for coming out to see me. I really appreciate it. Nice to see you.

Pamela:
Thanks very much.

Dr christian:
Bye-bye, bye.
I would say to the millions of women that will be out there with the same problem don’t hide away about it, don’t be embarrassed ‘cause there are things we can do, even if it’s not the same treatment as Pamela had, there are plenty of other options that you can try. You won’t know if they work unless you try them.

Read the video transcript

Consultation: Urinary Incontinence

Dr Jessen meets a woman whose problem bladder is ruling her life, but luckily there’s a solution, though not for the faint hearted.

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Comments and Questions

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Since I was in nappies as a baby iv always wet myself and I am now 15. There's been occasions of me going to the doctors regularly to suggest new ideas as the problem is getting worse and also the hospital due to water infections all the time. Iv been training my bladder although as much as I tried that didn't help I had to run to the toilet even if I tried to make the muscle stronger, iv had alarms, diapers, desmopressin tablets which didn't really help, not drinking for hours before bed and being woke up for a wee in the night and going once or twice before I go bed. However now over the last year/ few months it's got worse and now I do it during the day and it isn't on purpose I just don't feel when I need to go. What can I do to help this as everything iv read iv already tried several times throughout the years, shall I go back to my GP and ask him if a specialist is best or would that be silly? I really don't know but it's affecting my social time at sleepovers and having people around etc.





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I am 22 and I usually don't go to the toilet often as I don't drink that much. Recently I have started making myself drink at least 1litre a day. I have been finding that during the afternoon I get sudden urges that I need to wee then I try to hold it and sometimes I just can't and i wet myself a bit :/ this is obviously highly embarrassing! Is this normal? What can I do to stop it? Iv tried to stop myself weeing half way through passing urine but I can't seem to be able to stop the flow of urine, is this something to do with weak pelvic floor muscles? Please help!





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I'm 14 too Caley and I'm having the same problem please help?!? It seems I have no need to pee and the nest send there I am peeing my pants 😨 I can't do anything but wrap some tp on my underwear to try to prevent it from leaking threw. I know my Mom has had a urinary tract infection be4 but everything I've looked at says itching and I'm not itchy at all. When the sudden urge to pee hits it's wayyy to late and theres nothing I can do to hold it 😖 Please help (btw's it's always A LOT of pee...) 😞





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Yes, I have the same problem. I am 47 and for no apparent reason I will have days of being incontinent and then can go months without an episode. I have tried to relate it to my high blood pressure but there is no relation. It is not related to exercise stress as I have it on and off. I would love to know what this is as my doctors have not been to helpfull.

I would like to know if anyone else suffers from incontinence like me. I can go months without it and then out of the blue it comes back.





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hi yes I suffer the same as you I have to wear sanitary towels 24 hours a day seven days a week

l was in a miner accident and now it seems I'm not able to get to the bathroom in time it comes on so fast .The last few days I been having a light period in which I been without a period for a year or less.Have cramps and my lower back was injured in my accident .Could this be related to my car accident. I seen my Doctor two days ago he said I have whiplash do I make another appointment with my doctors please let me know. Thankyou Age 52•••••••••••••





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l was in a miner accident and now it seems I'm not able to get to the bathroom in time it comes on so fast .The last few days I been having a light period in which I been without a period for a year or less.Have cramps and my lower back was injured in my accident .Could this be related to my car accident. I seen my Doctor two days ago he said I have whiplash do I make another appointment with my doctors please let me know. Thankyou Age 52•••••••••••••





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I have wet myself twice in past two weeks and didnt feel the urge to go what could this be a sign of?





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I had a bladder infection when I was 4. Ever since then I have accidents all the time. I never know when I have to pee I'll be fine one minute then the next I really have to go to the bathroom and I'm usually in a place where I have to hold it such as school. I'm so embarrassed by it I don't even invite people over anymore cause I'm afraid they'll find my underwear. (I'm 14) I was wondering if this is normal and how I can stop. Any advice would be helpful.





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im 16 and i use a vibrator and i have extremely large labia and i recently used my vibrator and after one night i think i over used it and the next day me vagina hurt really bad and itched for the next 2 days then stopped. now for the last 3 days i un-voluntarily wet the bed. Please tell me why and what i should do. im to embarrassed to talk to anyone about it.





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you need to go to the gyno .. and make sure your vibrator is clean when your using make sure you dont store it where it can get dirty and stuff. and if your 16 and have sexual relations with people not just a vibrator you need to have reg check ups with your gyno. im sure your fine and its nothing major. but your gyno could help. it might just been a yeast infection, but idk why youd wet the bed over that but i hope this was at least a little helpful.

Hi I have had an overachieve bladder since I was 1 and this had been taking over my life since. I couldn't go out in case I had an accident as I would never get any warning of needing to go to the toilet. I have been tried on all different types of medication but none of them worked. Eventually I was over the age of being on child services and they were unable to help me. But when I was 17 I was refereed to a urologist who suggested Botox injections. It sounded really odd. But now having had this done for the last five years I have got my life back. I can go into hotels without the worry, I can go out without having to take spare clothes with me. It's amazing. If you getting problems don't delay see your gp don't live like I did waiting for years for proper treatment. I really feel like I have got my life back and those years of being embarrassed have gone.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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