Overactive Bladder (OAB) (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
Mary Lou, did you discuss this with your girlfriends? I think I may have an overactive bladder too, but I thought I was just getting older.

RETTON:
Yes, I do and did talk to my girlfriends about it. Before I was actually diagnosed with this condition, we would sit around discussing this topic and we would blow it off, blow each other off, meaning, what do you expect, you have four kids, things are different down there now. And that's absolutely not the case. Now, I am not a doctor or physician and I know childbirth has many issues of their own, but having children does not cause overactive bladder.

MEMBER QUESTION:
When did you first go to the doctor for this condition?

RETTON:
After I had my last daughter I was 35 years old and it was at the urging of my husband and my oldest daughter. The running joke in our family: "oh, gosh, mom has to go to the bathroom again." Those two finally said, "Mom, that's not normal, you should go see a specialist." This condition was starting to affect my life in ways that I didn't like.

MODERATOR:
What kind of specialist did you see?

RETTON:
A urologist. It was so simple.

MODERATOR:
What steps did the urologist take to diagnose you with OAB?

RETTON:
She took a urine sample, tested it, did whatever the doctors do, it came back completely normal, and then she sent me home and she told me to keep a diary for two days. I was to write down all the liquids that I was drinking during the day and write down how many times I went to the bathroom. After two days of this I went back to see her and it was pretty eye opening. Within those two days, during just one day, I went to the bathroom as often as 20 to 25 times.

MODERATOR:
Once you saw it in writing, were you surprised to see how often you were running to the bathroom?

RETTON:
Absolutely. With four daughters you can imagine someone always has to go to the bathroom -- I lived in the bathroom. People who suffer with OAB, we always find the excuses and reasons to go. When I saw it in writing it was eye opening.

"I take a once a day medication...it is something that has changed my life."

MODERATOR:
What did the doctor recommend?

RETTON:
She recommended a medication that I take once a day that works for me. It's so easy and it is something that has changed my life. It's cut my bathroom time in half. When one of your daughters comes to you after a soccer game and says, "Mommy, did you see my goal I made?" and you embarrassingly say, "no, Mommy was at the port-a-potty" -- those little things were starting to affect me. With my treatment and medication, I don't miss many soccer goals any more.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Before treatment did you ever feel like you would want to hide when this would happen?

RETTON:
No, but many people do. There's a fear and anxiety that come with this condition. Many people, 33 million people that we know of that suffer from this, don't leave their house. That's a severe case, but many people have the fear that if they have that urge there's nowhere to go, so they don't go.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Were there any side effects?

RETTON:
The only thing that I experienced was a little dry mouth. And I will take a dry mouth over going to the bathroom 25 times a day any day.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Were you relieved to get the diagnosis, or did you have a hard time accepting it?

RETTON:
I was relieved. I'm a take-charge person, and it was a relief to me that I was able to be diagnosed so easily. I felt blessed, because this is a treatable condition and I knew that my life was about to change, so I was relieved.

MODERATOR:
How long did it take before you noticed a change?

RETTON:
Within a week or two -- very quickly.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Why did you decide to come out and speak about your condition now?

RETTON:
I'm at a stage in my life where I'm 37 years old, married for 15 years with four children and I'm able to get involved in issues that are important to me and affect me. And this is one of them.

A lot of people who suffer from this condition, OAB, are embarrassed to talk about it. And also, this condition I know in the past has been associated with the elderly, that this is an old person's problem. It's absolutely not. So if I can help bring attention or bring down that wall of embarrassment, then I will do what I can to help.