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Embarrassing Bodies, 11:05pm Monday 6th July 2015 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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Hi, I have always had a bed wetting problem and I had an alarm to wake me up but it just made me tired. My parents and doctor say I will grow out of it. But recently when I do sports or dance I leak pee and I have been using sanitary towels to hide it. I am really embarrassed to talk about it with anyone. Will I need an operation?





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Hi, I'm 14 years old and lately I've been really desperate for the toilet when I least expect it and earlier today I wet myself in public but no one saw but I was embarrassed. I've been having bladder issues since I was 5. I would always wet myself in class during primary school but then I went to hospital and by year 4 I knew when I needed to pee. But the This year I've been so desperate to the toilet, lucky I made it without wetting myself but today I couldn't hold it and I felt angry and ashamed on myself. Should I go back to my GP?





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Im 13 and ive just started getting really bad stomach and back pains, also ive started wetting myself. Ive been everywhere and tried everything, what should i do?





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Hello I am 19 and I also have a problem with peeing myself ,exoecially when I am coughing,which I have had for months and it hardly ever goes and I can't breath when coughing so I have to breath in deeply ,of a night I have to sleep with towels under me as I often wet the bed,I change at least 10 times a day,it's so embarresing as I can't stop it and it can happen Duran work and I can image it doesn't smell very nice atall its making me so paranoid If anyone can give me Amy tips on what to do to stop or improve it please..!would help a lot





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Hi, I have just had an incident where I wet myself and couldn't control it, I was stood in my local supermarket and it just happened, I was so embarrased i just put my shopping down and wlk out, I was very distressed and confused to what had happened and why..I have recently come of Citalapram,which is used for depression and anxiety, could this be a side affect.





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my teenage Daughter was just heating up a sausage roll and without warning has just wet herself and is really worried. any ideas what is happening





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I wee myself Atleast 10-20 times a day if not more





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Hi I wet myself at work today, so embarrassing! It is the first time this has ever happened to me and I didn't even need the toilet. Just stood up and it came out. I am 28 and don't have children and I have always known when I need the loo and got there in plenty of time. Could you help? Thanks





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Iv had four children all under age off 5.. Atleast once maybe more a day I wet myself as I don't have any control over it..i can't Stop.is there anyway or surgery to correct this as I don't leave the house just in case Thankyou Age 24





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I am 48 year old now some time i wet my self that ok in my age or not and i feel bad when i do .

please tell me if you can help me.





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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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