Yes, this may be too much information for some people, but for women who are suffering with overactive bladder, there is a solution that so far has been like a miracle for me. If you’re not comfortable discussing body functions, read no further.
Back in 2012 I had a partial hysterectomy. Great, I thought, no more pads. I was so relieved. However, three c-sections had done a number on my bladder. When they removed my uterus, I started experiencing incontinence. At first it wasn’t too bad, but it became worse as time went along. I started wearing a panty-liner again. After a while, that wasn’t good enough. I had to start wearing a pad every day, even at night.
I’d be out of the house and as soon as I pulled in the driveway there would be that urge. Before I could get into the house and to the bathroom, I’d leaked enough to have to replace the pad. I went from a light pad to a moderate pad to a heavy flow. I always drank a lot of water. I’d get up from my chair to go to the bathroom and have to run to make it on time.
I tried different medications. Thinking it could be something related to urinary tract infections (common in women) I started taking cranberry supplements. Those always helped me. It didn’t get better. I went to the doctor. We tried Myrbetriq and it had no effect. I found an herbal remedy using pumpkin seed extract. That actually helped for a few months, then it was back just as bad as it had been.
I talked with the doctor about surgery, but I really wasn’t ready to go that route. By the end of last year, I’d had it. Almost daily I was having to replace my pad at one point because of not being able to make it from my living room to the bathroom without leaking. I didn’t like the smell on my clothes or my sheets. I thought I was being pretty fastidious about it, but I missed it sometimes. One time I coughed so hard in a hotel room that I wet the bed.
My cytoscopy showed that not only did I get the urge to go pretty quickly, but I also made urine very rapidly. My urologist said I had the “best” of both worlds. Not only did I have an overactive bladder, but I also had stress incontinence. He proposed two different surgical procedures to solve the problem. One was a bladder sling for the stress incontinence. I wasn’t so sure I wanted something so invasive, especially since we didn’t know if that would solve the problem. The other was botox injections in the bladder.
I opted for the botox being the less invasive of the two procedures. My doctor said it wasn’t an either/or scenario. I could get the botox done and still opt for the sling down the line.
The Friday before the procedure, I had a urinalysis done to make sure I didn’t have a UTI or any other issues. I also had to have a Corona Virus test and quarantine at home over the weekend. My test was negative. It was not a fun test to take at all. They really stick that swab through your nose and into your sinuses, bot just brushing your sinuses like other tests, then it has to sit there a while before they remove it.
Monday morning I showed up for the procedure. It’s an out-patient procedure but they were putting me under general anesthesia so I had to have my daughter drive me and bring me home. I was IV’d with a saline solution and given Cipro. They are taking keeping infections away very seriously right now. With all the surgeries I’ve had I don’t think I’ve ever had Cipro before. I saw the surgical nurse, the anesthesiologist, and the doctor. The anesthesiologist said I wouldn’t actually be out completely but I wouldn’t remember it and he would give me something to help my anxiety too.
I remember being wheeled into the operating room and switching over to a special chair and then that was it. Next thing I knew I was back in the pre-op area. I didn’t feel any pain, but they gave me tylenol anyway and told me I could have another one that night. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, so I didn’t have any issues.
We drove home and I noticed a difference right away. I reasoned that it was because of the surgery. The urologist had said it could take 2-3 weeks for me to see results. I slept good that night, and the next day I could see a huge difference. The pad I had put on when we came home from the hospital was not wet after nearly 24 hours. I was sometimes using 3 pads a day before the botox injection.
I drank a lot of water like they said to. I didn’t seem to be having a huge urge to go but I would go into the bathroom on a regular basis. No more was I barely making it in. I even went out shopping and didn’t have to stop in the middle of my shopping to go or run into the house when I got home. There was no more, what I called the “Pavlov’s dog” urges where as soon as I pulled in the driveway I thought I was going to wet my pants. I came in, put a few groceries down, then went to the bathroom.
I tried just wearing my underwear and found out I am still leaking a little bit. It’s nowhere near what it was, though. It seems to happen especially when I get up from a chair. I’ll bet that’s the stress side of it and I might see leakage when I sneeze or cough. I should be able to go down to a liner, though. Last night for the first time in a very long time I went to bed with no underwear on and my sheets didn’t show any wet spots in the morning.
It’s been a couple of days and it still feels like a miracle. Will it get any better still? I don’t know. I’m happy with what I have right now. I don’t know if I will try the sling as well since this seems to be making my life manageable, at least. The only downside is the botox wears off after a period of time and it has to be redone. The average seems to be about six months. I’m not looking forward to going through all of that twice a year, but feeling like this afterwards is well worth it.
If you have overactive bladder and haven’t gotten help from anything else, I recommend talking to your doctor about botox.