I wet the bed every single night and have to wear nappies at the age of 25 – and it's made me want to give up on life

The retail banker has struggled with bed-wetting her entire life and now sleeps wearing an adult nappy due to an overactive bladder.

Olivia, now 25, says she's never been able to sit through a full film at the cinema, finds it difficult to find a boyfriend and has to be prepared to run to the toilet at any point during the day at her job.

Over the years she's spent a fortune washing her bed sheets every day and having to replace them regularly.

Olivia, from Ottowa, Canada, admitted her condition has made her want to "give up on finding help so many times", and she's even wanted to "give up on life".

Prior to seeing a urologist about her condition at age 19, Olivia had always assumed she had a small bladder and was told by GPs that she'd grow out of it.

She was home-schooled for most of her education, meaning she wasn't around other children to realise there was something different about her.

Olivia used to dread telling her friends' parents that she was likely to wet the bed every time she went for a sleepover.

"They tried to play it down and make me feel more comfortable," she recalls.

"I appreciated that, however I couldn't tell them that it was an every night issue and not a rare occasion."

Olivia hoped her bed-wetting would stop when she reached her early teens, but it never did.

Her mum Jody, 50, has always been very supportive of her problem, but dad Dave, 55, and her brothers rarely talked to her about it.

"I knew buying nappies was a financial burden for my mum and dad," Olivia says.

"My mum has always supported me and done everything she could to help me. My dad and my brothers were quite detached from the problem.

"We went through a lot of bedding, covers and mattresses, but they were usually second-hand from other family members. My grandma felt guilty for a long time, feeling like she caused the problem as she said she reprimanded me for wetting the bed when I was younger, but I don't remember that.

"I do remember when I was just starting university at 17, she was quite upset with me for still wetting the bed, as I lived with her. But we've made up since.”

Growing up, Olivia tried different medications in case a lingering infection was causing her to wet the bed. By the time she turned 19 she was exhausted and out of options.

That's when she saw a urologist for the first time in November 2011, who diagnosed her uncontrollable urge to wee as being caused by the involuntary contraction of the bladder's muscle wall.

Olivia was encouraged to try nerve stimulation treatment or Botox injections into her bladder to paralyse it. She tried both, but sadly saw no change.

To see results, she'd need injections for the rest of her life. By now Olivia was 24, and her best friend suggested she started buying adult nappies.

"I never wanted to, because I was embarrassed," she admits.

"But she's been really supportive of me, and even housed me for my doctor’s appointments and surgeries because she lives about 40 minutes away from the hospital."

While they're uncomfortable and sometimes soak through, the extra protection has given Olivia some comfort at night.

In November 2016, she underwent surgery for the first time. She had a bladder implant inserted that numbed the nerves in the area, easing her urge to wee.

Following the operation, Olivia says things have improved but she still wets the bed every night, with or without a full bladder.

"It's just something I've had to come to accept," she says.

What is an overactive bladder?

An overactive bladder or OAB is where a person regularly gets a sudden and compelling need or desire to pass urine.

This sensation is difficult to put off (defer) and this can happen at any time during the day or night, often without any warning.

OAB is common and can affect people of all ages, including children and the elderly. About 12 per cent of the total adult population suffer from OAB. Usually the cause is unknown. Anxiety can make the problem worse.

The type of fluid you drink can also influence your symptoms. People with neurological disease are at particular risk of OAB.

If you feel you may be suffering from OAB, consult your GP.

Information provided by NHS Trust.

"I can't go to certain events – I always have to get up once or twice during a film at the cinema, and I'm usually the driver on a road-trip so I can feel comfortable that I can find the rest stops.

"I still have moments every day where all of a sudden I have to get to the bathroom fast, and it's kind of awkward for my colleagues, managers and even clients sometimes, to have to wait around for me to return from the toilet.

"It certainly is frustrating for me, because it comes on within a matter of five seconds and my bladder is in pain from the urgency.

"Sometimes I only have to go six to eight times a day – sometimes it is way more. My bladder will have good days, and bad days."

Olivia has since begun sharing her experiences and life story online via her YouTube channel. She is keen to become an advocate and voice for people with overactive bladders who suffer with adult bed-wetting, and spread awareness of this often misunderstood condition.

Speaking about her decision to go public, Olivia says: "It was becoming increasingly difficult to disguise my treatments and doctor’s appointments from friends, family, and work.

"It was the most terrifying thing I've ever done, but after only 12 hours I received my first email from someone who was affected by my openness and it was the most rewarding thing I've ever felt. It made it all worth it.

"Being so transparent with my story has been so important and changed people's lives knowing they're not alone, as I once did. I know this is my passion in life now."

Olivia says she believes everyone should be educated about their bladder and what to look out for, not just those with problems.

"I don't know if there is a cure for me. I've gone through almost all my options, and if my InterStim implant fails to give me relief of my symptoms, I can try Botox injections again in my bladder," she says.

"After that I've only got one other thing and that's bladder augmentation, which is a serious invasive surgery that may not be worth the risk.

"I don't know if I'll ever go down that route, but I can definitely say that I'm confident with who I am, I have the support I need, and I have the platform and the experiences to share with the world to help them on their own journey."

You can follow Olivia Robbin on YouTube and Instagram.

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