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Why Does My Brain Forget to Talk to My Bladder?

By Wendy Bjork
November 1, 2021

I remember the first time it happened to me… and you probably remember your first time too…

Mine was at about age 25 while I was at a business conference.

We were on a break and there was a mad dash for the ladies’ room. The line was long, and I was in 911 emergency mode. But I had to wait…

By the time it was my turn, I realized I couldn’t go. “Now what,” I thought?

I had had MS for about 8 years by then, and it seemed like there was always a new surprise.

And ohhhh what a surprise this new symptom was!

I went back to my chair to wait it out and then barely made it to the bathroom in time…

But it would get way worse through the years. After having so many attacks, along with having 2 babies, my brain and bladder weren’t talking to each other like they used to. I was only in my mid-thirties, and this was my new life. Add this to my medical history, and I’m officially an old lady with bladder problems.

Apparently during one of my relapses, there was damage to the part of my spinal cord and the part of my brain that had all of the wonderful bladder and bowel control I was used to.

There are constant mixed signals being sent back and forth… hold it… no, wait, let it all out… the two of them chat throughout the day without any sort of patience.

A few years ago, I finally mustered up the courage to talk to my (male) neurologist about it. He put me on a prescription meant for men with prostate problems and told me it’s short-term and the efficacy wouldn’t last forever. PERFECT! Now I get to pick up my medicine from the pharmacy and have them try to figure out what’s wrong with my prostrate. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

And he was right. It didn’t solve my problems, and we decided to chuck it.

The fix was to start shopping for bladder control pads. I did NOT want to even be seen in that aisle because you know someone will spot you. But I would just blame my grandma, except she had a bladder of steel. 

I tried a bunch of different brands, thicknesses and lengths. Who knew there was so much to research? A lot were very irritating, with whatever they used for chemicals to “help keep” your self-confidence.

I finally decided on good old Equate brand, which can be found in Walmart stores everywhere. And now with all of the stores allowing us to shop online or have store pickup, I just have them delivered… no more having to tell the check-out clerk they’re for my grandma, and I’m such a nice girl for popping in to grab them.

I know this is a problem for so many of you, and just know you are not alone on this bumpy ride.

Think of it this way: learning how to keep a straight face when you’ve had an accident will make you a professional by the time you’re old…  I know, funny, but not funny.

Just give yourself grace, thank your bladder on the days it does talk with your brain and try to know where the bathrooms are (there are apps for this!).

I’ve gone through the gamut since my first symptoms in 1985, and I’d love link arms with you on your journey; we no longer need to suffer in silence, and I am here for you!

Wendy Bjork

Wendy is an MS Warrior from northwest Wisconsin where she lives with her two teenaged sons and husband. After 35 years of dealing with the challenges of MS, she now empowers other women living with the disease to improve their mind, body, environment and relationships to help them regain control of their life.  Follow her story on Facebook, Instagram and on her website at heartsofwellness.com.

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