A photo of Karine

World Continence Week: getting help for my wee problem

Bladder problems are common in MS. Karine shares her experience and how she got help.

One of the latest developments in my MS journey is not being able to empty my bladder properly (urine retention). We Brits find it difficult to talk openly about such matters, so I thought I would share my story to help other people feel at ease.

One night last November, I got ready for bed following my usual routine: I went to the loo, brushed my teeth, went to the loo another three times, and then settled in bed. After that, despite being up a few times, I was unable to go again.

I had a caffeinated coffee. This is something I rarely do, but I know that this usually makes me visit the loo every 20 minutes for about two hours. But this time, no such luck. I was sent to A&E immediately.

Help from the professionals

Urine retention is treated very seriously and I was seen very quickly at hospital. A catheter [a kind of tube] was needed to be fitted to drain my bladder. However, due to my spasticity, this was very difficult for the endlessly patient nurses.

After two and a half hours of trying, they struck gold. I can honestly say I have never felt relief like it! The normal bladder holds a maximum of 400 ml of urine but by the time my bladder was due to be drained, I had over a litre. That certainly explained the pain.

The catheter would be removed two weeks later. The night before the appointment, I found myself in tears. Having the catheter gave me a sense of freedom and I was gutted that I would be losing this.

Getting relief

I went to the hospital and the catheter was removed. However I still couldn’t pass urine so I had to have another inserted. This led to a mixture of feelings, the MS had progressed again and this was more permanent than I had thought. But I still had the independence that the catheter had given me so I was filled with relief.

It took me a few days to embrace the positive, but life has been so much easier. No more trips to the loo two or three times a night - I can sleep right through!

I can now leave the house, on my own, without worrying or planning where the toilets are. I feel that I can take care of myself again, which is brilliant.

My wee problem has been resolved!

>> Read our information pages on the main type of bladder problems in MS, and how they are treated and managed.