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Don't suffer in silence with bladder problems

Christine Caddick is one of Liverpool Women's three Urogynaecology Nurse Practitioners based in Outpatients. They see women of all ages with a wide range of bladder problems which can seriously impact on quality of life. But say Christine and her colleagues, help is at hand.

Says Christine: "We review all patients with bladder problems such as frequency, urgency, leakage, nocturia and pain. We also review patients with prolapse, assessing for and fitting vaginal pessaries.
 
One of the chronic conditions we see is called Painful Bladder syndrome (also known as Interstitial cystitis). This causes people to have marked frequency- maybe up to 40 times a day, nocturia - maybe 15 times a night. They can also have bladder pain, which is not relieved upon voiding.
 
There is no cure for this condition, it can only be managed with certain treatments, either medical or self-help therapies. We have around 40 patients actively having treatment here at the Women's and at our Aintree site.

These ladies receive either a weekly, fortnightly or monthly bladder instillation to try and relieve their symptoms. To have these instillations the patient can have a local anaesthetic gel inserted to try and provide some comfort, and then catheterised to instil the solution.
 
These ladies require a lot of emotional support as its common to get flare-ups when their symptoms are more prominent. Because of this we set up a support group which runs every other month. It is held in the Urodynamics Department and is supported by one of the Nurse Practitioners.
 
These meetings first started last year and have a good attendance. The majority of the ladies attending are relieved to find that they are not alone in suffering. They finally have someone to talk to who understands.

Because of these meetings, our pathway for treatment is changing to a more streamlined pathway, with inappropriate reviews removed and suitable treatments being identified earlier.
 
It has also encouraged the ladies to challenge their care when they see their consultant which has been empowering. Patients attending for the instillations are advised about the support group and sent information about the meetings. Most ladies attending have found these meetings helpful and attend regularly. Otherwise, we still offer the information via the newsletter we produce, which we aim to get onto the website.

If you want any more information about painful bladder syndrome or other bladder problems please do not hesitate to contact me on 0151 702 4321 or email Christine.bates@lwh.nhs.uk

by Christine Caddick

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