For some reason, standing still for a brief period of time makes the situation worse. It seems that if I pause long enough to clinch my legs together, then the next time they relax – for example, in order for me to take a few steps – the muscles holding back the urine relax too and Lisa ends up with soaked underwear and most likely very wet pants.
Losing the ability to control the flow of urine is a common dysfunction in MS. So are problems with storage of urine, emptying of the bladder, or a combination of problems caused by detrusor-external sphincter dyssynergia (DESD) which is a lack of coordination between the different muscle groups that independently control storage and flow.
It is important to talk to your neurologist about any problems you are having with bladder functions. There are treatments which may help to reduce complications. But one thing you should NOT do if you are worried about incontinence is to dramatically limit fluid intake. You need to drink plenty of water to stay appropriately hydrated and to avoid aggravating bowel problems which can often accompany bladder problems.
For me, the onset of bladder problems coincided with a period of time where my MS was progressing somewhat rapidly. I was having several relapses with limited recovery in between. This was years ago, however.
Now, when I begin to have bladder issues, it is often because of a blossoming urinary tract infection or poor attention to my body’s needs on my part. I’ve learned that if the random thought of the bathroom crosses my mind I should act upon it, even if I don’t physically feel the need to go to the restroom…yet. I may not be able to FEEL my need, but my brain is trying to subtly warn me in advance that we’re going to have to make a move soon.
What’s your experience with bladder problems? Are there strategies that you employ to try to manage or prevent problems when you are out and about?