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Beth Davis – Overactive Bladder Success Story

Taking back control – Beth Davis didn't let her overactive bladder keep her from being active

Beth DavisBeth Davis is an active mom who encourages her two sons to play sports, ride bikes, and participate in family runs. She loves the outdoors and makes exercise and fitness priorities in her life. But this avid runner once found herself sidelined, surrendering her active lifestyle and rearranging her life around the fear of uncontrollable urine leakage, also called urinary incontinence.

"After I had my second son, I couldn't do a lot of things because I began to have urinary leakage," Davis says. "Whenever I sneezed or coughed, urine would leak out. I was embarrassed and constantly strategizing to ensure easy access to bathrooms while giving up the activities I love, like playing sports with my children, exercising, and running."

More common than you think

Davis' fear of urine leakage was taking over her life. It is uncomfortable and, for many, deeply embarrassing problem. One out of every four women in the United States, or 32 million, has the condition. If you suddenly experience a strong urge to urinate and barely have enough time to make it to a bathroom, you may have urinary incontinence.

Symptoms of urinary incontinence can include:

  • Leaking
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent infections
  • Loss of bladder support

Jason Brown, MD, an independently practicing obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, says diabetes, previous pregnancies, and a physical history of frequent lifting are among the causes.

In Davis' case, her muscles were weakened by childbirth, and while she tried to strengthen them, her condition persisted. She spoke openly to Dr. Brown, who recommended several treatment options, including medication, physical therapy, or surgery.

Beth Davis Minimally invasive surgery at Methodist Mansfield
allowed Beth Davis to move past urinary
incontinence and plunge back into an active
lifestyle. She's training again to compete in
triathlons and hopes to run the White Rock Half Marathon.

"Dr. Brown was very understanding," Davis says. "He told me millions of people have problems with bladder control, and it was very common and can be controlled or even cured with the right treatment. We discussed several options, and because of my active lifestyle, I decided on minimally invasive surgery."

The 30-minute procedure fit Davis with a sling that lifted the urethra back into a normal position, allowing it to work properly again. After the procedure, Davis says her muscles were sore, but a few days later she was back at work.

"It was all worth it because the operation worked immediately," she says. And the best part: Now she experiences no leakage. "I don't have to worry, and I can go out with friends and run again and not have one eye on the lookout for a bathroom," she says. "It's fantastic. It's totally transformed my life."

A mom on the move

Now that she's active again, Davis isn't looking back.

"My family is together again, competing in runs, jumping on the trampoline, exercising at the YMCA, and doing what we love," she says.

"We just came back from a ski trip, and it was wonderful. I don't feel the urge to go all the time, and I feel so much better."

Davis hopes her story can help others who have an overactive bladder. "I would say to other people who have incontinence: 'You don't have to live with it. Don't put it off - take control. You don't realize how the condition sidelines your life. Talk to your doctor and take care of it.'

"I am thankful to have it behind me so I can move forward and enjoy my family and my two sons and live life to the fullest."

From the summer 2011 edition of Shine magazine