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Well, that’s embarrassing

Well, that’s embarrassing

I know this title is confusing, but what can I say… it can relate to a lot.

We all know that MS can cause some not so pleasant symptoms that are embarrassing to discuss, or even want to deal with.

While I haven’t had the pleasure (heavy sarcasm) in dealing with all of the ‘embarrassing symptoms’… I have had to deal with some.

So as many of you know – I was diagnosed when I was 22, I’m now 27. So, I had never expected that I would be dealing with **GASP** bladder dysfunction, due to my MS… Yeah I know, I wanted to hide under my blanket when I first started dealing with it.

But then as I just ignored the issue like it wasn’t happening, it seemed to get worse. So, I finally went to my neuro about it. Now, I’m not gonna lie… it wasn’t easy. I think my face must have been beet red from my face being on fire discussing it. But I got a referral to see a urologist close by.

So, this is just… great. I just discussed a very… embarrassing thing with my neuro, and now I have to do it ALL over again. Couldn’t I have just like, recorded myself explaining it, so I didn’t have to voice it again?? But that would be kind of awkward, listening to myself on a recording stumbling over the word “leaking” and “close-calls”.

Now, let me just say that I don’t embarrass easy anymore, but this was just after being diagnosed, not even a year after. I wasn’t seeing my MS Specialist that I do now, whom I’m comfortable speaking with about these things.

So, I read some things online, about items that can help with urinary issues. I go up to my local grocery store, and I’m in the ‘pad’ area, just trying to look in detail about what each product has to offer. And I then have a woman stand next to me, letting me know that it was sweet shopping for these particular items, she then pointed out full on adult-diapers that her mother uses, and that my grandmother would benefit from most likely. Can you imagine how red my face was by this time?

I wasn’t having full-blown accidents, but I needed SOMETHING to help me out in case I had a coughing/sneezing fit, or laughed too much. I was going for something discreet, that I could also carry with me in my purse, if needed.

Now, I know that this is an embarrassing subject, and many people don’t really open up about it like I am, but it’s something that we have to deal with at times. For the men who deal with this, I’m sorry that you don’t have as many products available as women do.

So anyways, when I went to see the urologist, they scheduled for me to take some tests, that I don’t even want to explain here… but lets just say it wasn’t always the easiest things to go through. Now, please don’t let that keep you from seeing a urologist, if you need to.

Once I went through all the testing and spoke with my urologist about the results, I was put on a medication to help with my ‘leaking’ problem. After being on the medication for a while, I didn’t have anymore issues with leaking, so I decided that maybe I don’t need the medication anymore… I mean we already take A LOT of meds having MS; so trying to cut down on the amount we take in a day is something that we all want.

Let me just say that, taking the medication out of my daily routine didn’t seem to change my daily life too much, or have the urinary symptom flare up, but after a little bit of time being off of it, I realized that it WAS working, in the worst way possible to find out. So, now I need to go back to my urologist and talk to him about what he thinks I should do. Continue on the medication I’ve taken for so long, or discuss other options.

I mean… did you know that you could get BOTOX done for these embarrassing symptoms? Yeah! It’s not just for Hollywood stars wanting bigger lips and fewer wrinkles.

I remember after going through the whole thing about talking to my neurologist, I had gone to a MS Conference (ECTRIMS 2011) and found many resources available for people dealing with urinary issues and MS.

Did you know that there is a ‘discussion guide’ to help you answer those embarrassing questions I answered, without having to have the full-blown conversation first thing? If you want to check it out, you can do so here.

So, let me just end this on a more positive, less embarrassing note. If you are experiencing something that is annoying and/or embarrassing, odds are that it’s not just going to ‘go away’ with time. In fact, things can get worse if you don’t get certain health issues looked at. So, even though you might need to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone, that’s just taking a step towards getting better. I mean, c’mon, I’m in my late 20s and I am publicly speaking about urinary issues with MS!


Ashley Ringstaff

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • jon6268
    4 years ago

    I understand what you are saying Ashley, however I have no issues telling my doctors anything.. lol. I just wrote my doctor the other day about some not so fun issues and just laid it all out there. I tried to use professional terms when I wrote him. 🙂

  • Della
    4 years ago

    I totally get it. I started having “dripping” problems from sneezing, coughing, laughing, or just standing up. I was 38 & forced to go to that part of the isle that isn’t period related. It was horrifying to say the least, but I was tired of having a changing of clothes everywhere I went. I had cut out all caffeinated & carbonated drinks & was only drinking water, but it still didn’t help. By the time I turned 40, it was awful. The meds were not working anymore. My urologist tried several different ones, but none helped. I was keeping the Poise Co. in business. He then suggested Botox. IT IS AMAZING!!! I had the outpatient injections done Dec.31,2014 & today, I’m still ok. I would suggest that option if you have tried all others. Now I can say “I have the best looking bladder in town”.

  • But You Look So Well
    4 years ago

    I am howling at that last line!! Della, you put the fun in neurogenic.

  • Jess
    4 years ago

    I understand what you’re going through, I’ve been seeing a urologist for years. I can’t empty my bladder all the way so drug’s didn’t do much for me. Boots is out because like the commercial says, if you can’t empty your bladder booths isn’t for you. Adult diapers I get from a mail order company that my neurologist got for me to avoid that embarrassing trip to the store! It was the most embarrassing thing I had gone through until I had a few episodes of bowel incontinence, that was the worst, most embarrassing thing that I experienced. I hope you NEVER have to deal with that!

  • AJoy
    4 years ago

    Oh my, Jess, I was wondering if anyone else was going to comment about that particular problem. Bladder issues are a challenging thing, but those are manageable. Pads, diapers, etc, make it something not even “hidden” from public recognition, and with it being so common for women in general, not quite as embarrassing to admit to as it could be. Embarrassing when you have a bowel accident! Imagine trying to deal with that in a public restroom, and a whore of trying to address how you’re going to clean up after yourself, clean up your clothing, and then be dry enough to walk out of the rest room. I was very lucky that it was a single stall, and not a larger facility. There is little as far as treatment goes that is available, definitely nothing that the doctors can pinpoint for a reason for it, pads and diapers just don’t take care of the problem appropriately. My choice tends to be stay home most of the time if there is any chance of a problem cropping up, or taking large doses of Imodium well enough in advance to prevent it. Sadly, I have yet to find anyone on any of the support groups that I’m on that will even discuss it. I don’t know how anyone who has a partner, or is in early stages of a relationship, or thinking about ever having a relationship ever again, can cope with this concept. If bladder incontinence could make intimacy difficult, imagine what bowel incontinence would do to intimacy. Most definitely one of the symptoms I would never wish upon anyone!

  • Mare
    4 years ago

    Ashley: I know how you feel. About 8 years ago, I was told that I would never be able to empty my bladder completely and would either have to undergo surgery and a colostomy bag or I could self-catheterize myself every day. I was devastated as you could imagine. Well I opted to self-catheterization and have been doing it every day, several times per day for 8 years and goes very well. This way, I avoid a lot of urinary tract infections as well. It seems like we all go through trials and tribulations and seem to come through great!

    Please make regular appointments to see your urologist. NEVER hold your bladder, make regular bathroom times during the day. Holding your bladder could lead to what I have to do every day!

  • Jackie
    4 years ago

    Mare, I also self cath every time. My legs are too weak to transfer by myself. So I need a strong person (my husband)to help me. Really limits where we can go. The operation with the stoma and bag was suggested to me. I don’t know what to do.

  • Jess
    4 years ago

    I go through 200 catheters a month, but it feels so good to be able to empty my bladder completely. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not as bad as you think.

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