Last night happened to be one of the worst MS bad bladder nights I’ve had in a long time. As such, I feel wicked crappy today. Or, I guess I should say, wicked pissy.
One would think the words “can’t stop going,” would refer to a good thing. Something you would find on an inspirational poster, or in a pop song geared towards the tween set — an affirmation if you will. But you would be wrong.
When I say “can’t stop going,” I am actually referring to one of my insidious MS symptoms: bladder issues. In my case, I have to use the bathroom constantly and for normal people, that is the end of the story. You go, you’re done — at least for a few hours.
Not for me. No, my bathroom going trips have become so constant, they are hard to believe. If you follow my blog and this rant sounds familiar, it is likely because I have ranted about it before. I’ve even used the line, “these bladder issues are really starting to piss me off.” (Pun totally intended.)
The line is not mine, but my sister Laurie’s. And before I began using it, I thought that while accurate, it was also funny. That was when my bladder issues only happened at night. Yes, they made trying to sleep frustrating and difficult, but they were manageable — as long as there was something good on TV at 3 am.
But lately, the frequency of having to go relentlessly, and of then not going completely when I do go, is happening throughout the day as well. My bathroom trips are turning into revolving doors. In the time it takes me to wash my hands and leave the bathroom, I have to go again and repeat the process.
Really, what is the point of going at all?
The irony of this is water. Lately, in fact, just as this issue started acting up, all I hear is how good water is for you. It seems that everywhere I look, I am reading articles on how dehydrated people are and how crucial water is to your diet.
I know this and am drinking a lot more water. I have also learned to drink it earlier in the day to avoid the night problem so I can sleep. Now, I just need to spend the day in the bathroom.
Most people can handle this added H2O intake. Me, I can handle it great. As long as I don’t need a life outside of the bathroom.
The medication I take for this problem does help, but only a little bit. And it causes wicked dry mouth which means… more water.
I should discuss this with my neurologist, but I have to admit, he is kind of cute. How can I possibly talk to him about this? And even if I did, I am afraid the next step in treating this issue will involve tools that I don’t even want to think about.
But I know that I should bring it up, and I probably will at my next appointment. (Maybe by then it will have gone away?) Until then, how do I deal?
How I deal with it
One MS professional told me to do Kegel exercises. In case you aren’t aware, Kegels are the pelvic muscle exercises which magazines like Cosmopolitan recommended in the 80’s for a more… exciting benefit.
The thing about Kegels is that they are super easy to do and can be done anywhere. Even in the bathroom. The MS irony here? I forget to do them! Even when I write myself a note, I forget to read it! Easy exercise: rare and good. Forgetting the exercises: very, very bad.
I’ve heard that this particular bladder problem can lead to UTI’s which are also very, very bad. One way to prevent that is by drinking more water. No, I am not kidding — this is one of the best ways to deal with them.
Another way is to eat cranberries or cranberry supplements. I am a New England girl and so cranberries are my world. I can even tell you how they are harvested. Oatmeal raisin cookies? No way. Oatmeal cranberry cookies — awesome!
But I am on a health kick, so I decided I would get my cranberries in an organic, unprocessed, sugar-free way. So I poured myself a glass of super healthy cranberry juice — and spat it right out because it was so bitter. Apparently, even for people born and bred in cran country, you still need a little sugar to appreciate them.
So what’s a girl to do? I added cranberry tablets to my daily meds list (which meant more water to get them down) and then headed to the busiest room in my house.
If you are looking for me or my TV, we have permanently moved into the porcelain and tile room. And if that pisses you off, well, you likely have a bathroom of your own…
A version of this article originally appears on YvonnedeSousa.com.
Yvonne deSousa is living with relapse remitting multiple sclerosis and is the author of “MS Madness! A ‘Giggle More, Cry Less’ Story of Multiple Sclerosis.” Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.