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Jean Heffernan-Sims – Urinary Incontinence Success Story

Say goodbye to bladder problems

Jean Heffernan-SimsA new rehab program helps women overcome urinary incontinence.

Jean Heffernan-Sims is not the only woman acquainted with the challenges of urinary incontinence, but she’s one of the first to take advantage of the newest physical therapy program at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center — and she’s glad she did.

“When nature calls and you can’t relieve yourself, it can be very embarrassing and uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally,” says Heffernan-Sims, an avid gardener, and bird-watcher. “Some days I thought there was no hope. I found myself turning down invitations to go out to lunch with friends and missing Bible study so I could stay near the bathroom. This can be difficult to explain to friends and family — even to your doctor.”

Speaking up about urinary incontinence

Jean Heffernan-Sims watering her plantsWhen Heffernan-Sims finally talked to a doctor, she was referred to Methodist Mansfield’s pelvic floor rehabilitation program, which uses exercises to build the muscles controlling the bladder.

“Women don’t need to suffer in silence or be embarrassed to talk to their doctor,” says Tracy Cannon-Smith, MD, independently practicing urologist on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield. “I’ve seen patients experience significant improvement with physical therapy.” Heffernan-Sims is only one of them.

“My physical therapist designed a program of progressive pelvic floor exercises to help me get stronger,” she says. “I’ve seen so much improvement. I’m not letting this get the best of me.”

In addition to exercising, Heffernan-Sims has modified her diet, avoiding foods and beverages that can irritate the bladder, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, coffee, and tea.

“I was feeling hopeless, but now I feel much better and have learned so much,” she says, urging others with bladder control issues to see a urologist.

“Don’t be ashamed to get help,” she says. “Life is too short to stop doing the things you love.”

To learn more about the Methodist Mansfield physical medicine pelvic floor program, call 877-637-4297.

From the winter 2012 edition of Shine magazine.