The 'Unsinkable' Debbie Reynolds

International star gets up front about overactive bladder problems

TUESDAY, May 14, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- If Debbie Reynolds can talk about having an overactive bladder, there's no reason for you to be embarrassed about it.

The Hollywood actress recently launched "Standing Ovations," an education campaign to raise awareness about the condition. Many people with overactive bladder suffer in silence because they're ashamed about it.

Reynolds is sharing her own experience to encourage people to discuss their symptoms and seek proper diagnosis and treatment. Overactive bladder symptoms may include strong, sudden urges to urinate, urinating more than eight times over 24 hours, and wetting accidents.

More than 17 million Americans (one-in-11 adults) of all ages suffer from overactive bladder, and many are undiagnosed because they're too embarrassed to seek treatment. Their suffering and discomfort may cause them to withdraw from family, friends and socializing.

The condition is especially prevalent in women. It's estimated that as much as 25 percent of the female U.S. population between ages 30 and 59 have had at least one episode of urinary incontinence.

Treatment for overactive bladder includes drugs that help control involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle, along with behavioral techniques and bladder training.

More information

This site from the National Institutes of Health explains some of the challenges of bladder control for women.

Consumer News