Few women are alarmed by a tiny urine leak as they lift heavy items, cough, or jog. A protective daily pad and most of us brush it off. But when urine leakage gets more serious and grows out of control, it becomes a major concern that limits us and dictates our lives. This is exactly what happened to Anne. A 44-year-old mother of one son, from northwestern Germany, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), back in 2005.From stress incontinence to overflow incontinence
Incontinence slowly crept up on Anne, after her MS diagnosis. What was initially limited to small leaks in conjunction with physical activity such as the carrying of her child, gradually developed into incomplete bladder emptying, recalls Anne. While it may sound harmless, it wasn’t. The incomplete bladder emptying resulted in urine leakage as well as an embarrassing number of toilet visits per day, both at home and in public. Meanwhile, the residual urine formation which lingered on as a result of her incomplete bladder emptying, also triggered repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Many individuals who suffer from bowel and bladder dysfunction, tend to suffer in silence.
Dysfunction of the bladder is a common side-effect of MS. Research shows that 91% of MS patients report some sort of bladder dysfunction*. Anne’s situation is as such not unique. Her determination to tackle the problem, is however less common. A significant number of individuals who suffer from bowel and bladder dysfunction, prefer to keep it to themselves and suffer in silence.
Introduction to intermittent catheterization
Anne’s determination to address the limitations imposed on her as a result of her bladder dysfunction, led to a referral to the neurological urology department and a proposal to try out intermittent catheterization (IC). Anne was also provided with a contact person at Wellspect. To her delight, an appointment with a Wellspect continence consultant could take place in the comfort of her own home. The continence counselor also brought information material, a small mirror, and enough catheters for Anne to use until she received her first order of catheters.
“We sat comfortably in my living room. I asked questions and we walked through the entire catheterization process in theory”, recalls Anne. The consultant then explained to me the anatomy of the female urinary tract, the different catheter sizes on offer as well as the hygiene measures I had to apply, when carrying out intermittent catheterization.
All of this happened without any time pressure. It was also followed by a joint toilet visit during which I used the disposable catheter for the first time – under guidance and with the help of a small mirror.
Intermittent catheterization is not painful
I was relieved when catheterization worked right away. Yes, it felt a bit strange inserting the thin tube, which is what a catheter is after all, into my urethra, but it wasn't the least painful. I think it's important to point this out because I believe that some of those who suffer from urine leakage, are anxious about inserting the catheter. There is really no need to worry.
Fewer urinary tract infections with intermittent catheterization
With time, intermittent catheterization became a daily routine for Anne, at home or on the go. Thanks to its compact size, which is about the size of a pen, you can carry spares with you wherever you go.
I now catheterize four to six times a day, while completely emptying my bladder each time. I have substantially reduced the number of times I go to the toilet. No more pressing and squeezing my stomach to empty the bladder as much as possible either, explains Anne.
“Taking control of my situation and literally “owning” my bladder emptying again was very empowering. Just like the old days, I can empty my bladder quickly and effectively. It is so liberating”, says Anne. Another positive side-effect to intermittent catheterization was the significantly less frequent occurrence of urinary tract infections, she adds.
Why choose Wellspect products
When asked to line up the perks of using Wellspect’s catheters, Anne highlights the simplicity of the order process. All I have to do is get a prescription from my urologist detailing the number of catheters needed quarterly. I send this to Wellspect upon which products tailored to my needs are delivered directly to my home within a week’s period. I also find it very positive that if I have questions or a specific concern, I can easily reach my continence advisor at any time.
I find it sad that for many people, the subject of incontinence is taboo.
I am aware that for many people the subject of incontinence is taboo. I find that sad. While hardly anyone talks about it, many are affected. I would advise anyone suffering from incontinence to speak to their doctor as soon as possible. Don’t withdraw from everyday life for fear of embarrassment. “Just like I did, you will learn that there are effective products out there that will help you regain control of your life”, concludes Anne.
You can also get acquainted with the products and the best therapies available for your condition
* Bragdalina and Motta et al, Multiple Scleorisis and Related Disorders, 2020