Sasha was diagnosed with overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) in her early 20s. In this blog she describes how the problem started and the way it's affected her life so far. 

I have overactive bladder syndrome (also known as OAB). I just got diagnosed in my early 20s. My symptoms are extreme burning sensation with or without urinating, short notice or no notice of bathroom signals, and frequency of urinating. 

This bladder problem started when I was a child. I figure I was born with it because, there's not a day I can't think of when I didn't think about this problem. I'll just start from the beginning for me. 

Sleeping child Sasha's bladder problems started in early childhood

How my OAB started 

It started with potty training. I used the bathroom and was great at that whole concept, but always couldn't make it. My parents got a little upset with me growing up because, they thought I was too lazy to get out of bed in the middle of the night. Honestly, I couldn't even tell when I used the bathroom in the bed. It wasn't until my mom heard on TV about OAB and its symptoms were it all clicked to her about my situation. She told me about temporary medication for when it flares up and now I just take that when I feel the burning sensation.

It started with potty training. I used the bathroom and was great at that whole concept, but always couldn't make it. 

My OAB doesn't always flare, so I try to take the medication either when I feel the burning or if I know I'm going to be out all day. I have no idea what causes the flare ups as of now just because it comes up at random times, but I will try to find answers.

Accidents at school 

I remember in high school, my teacher didn't let me go to the bathroom because it was in the middle of an "important" discussion and I held it just enough until that was over. I was on my way to the bathroom when I started to feel a warm sensation on my jeans. I knew right then it was too late. I went into the stall and called my dad and stayed in the bathroom until he got to the school to bring me clothes. I was so embarrassed.

Even when I go out drinking (which causes people to urinate more), on a few occasions, I have gone to bars where I would urinate when it's too late and would wrap my sweater or jacket around my waist and then head home before I am seen with a huge urine print on my pants. 

Couple hugging Sasha experienced problems with urgency when out on dates 

OAB and dating 

Dating is quite interesting. At some point, I bring up the OAB situation and they quite don't understand because, I try to play it off like a joke but really I am just super embarrassed. I've had to pull over the side of the road awkwardly with boyfriends in the past and urinate next to the car. Laugh it off like nothing was extreme going on inside of me.

I've had to pull over the side of the road awkwardly with boyfriends in the past and urinate next to the car.

I was married for 4 years and my ex husband didn't really see the results of the embarrassment until a year after we got divorced. We met up for drinks and food. We had a few drinks again which causes it sometimes to flare. I took medicine the night before I saw him so I thought I was prepared. We started talking and then all the sudden when I was sitting down, it just flowed slowly into the seat under me. I told him "Not to be funny but I just peed on myself". Thank gosh I was wearing black and it was night time so no one could visually see. You could see the red on his face start to get even more red because he was embarrassed for me. We both just left. 

Accidents at work 

Another time is after I had my daughter and I was at work. Since I work in a hospital and in the maternity ward, I had taken a infant diaper to put in my underwear so that when my flare up happened it could just go in that. That was a close call because I was in a mother's room and I had to excuse myself which could make the mother nervous. She doesn't even know me. 

Coping strategies

Over the years, I've gotten so good at hiding or finding tricks so that if I did have a slip up, no one would know. It still affects me to this day. When I go somewhere, I try to find the bathroom first just in case I need to run for it. I take a supplement which has a "numbing" effect on the bladder so it doesn't burn. Also, it helps all my OAB symptoms. It works, but it would be nice to find a permanent and safe solution to this horrible issue. 

Teenage girlSasha wants to help others by sharing her story

Empathy with others

I wanted to share my story because people say "I use the toilet all the time" or "I have a small bladder" but it's nothing compared to those who actually have serious issues with their bladder.

It would be nice to find a permanent and safe solution to this horrible issue. 

It's not funny and I am sympathetic to anyone who has similar issues because it is embarrassing at times, it hurts extremely bad, and it's a hassle to deal with everyday. 

Download our Guide to Children's Daytime Bladder Problems for more information on OAB and how it can be treated.  

Stock images have been used and names have been changed.