Healthy Body

Not so easy pee-sy: struggling with a small bladder

As Lifestyle Editor, here at Campus, I spend my time reading some amazing bodies of work that come in. Some pieces filled with facts and information and others so personal. I have such admiration for the writers who send me in their work and share their stories but I’m beginning to feel that perhaps it would be slightly hypocritical of me not to begin to reveal some things about myself.

My issue today is one that affects many women, and that is, having a small bladder. As someone who has been quietly acknowledging it for a while, I am aware there is a problem but I have been reluctant to see it as that, a problem, and also, to my determent, see a doctor about it. On a recent trip to London, I realised the full extent of it and it hit home to me that having a small bladder is not only embarrassing, but frustrating and problematic.

Nights out can be annoying, as I spend my time queuing for toilets as opposed to actually enjoying the night. At house parties, it can be embarrassing having to nip out mid-conversation and then stand awkwardly outside the bathroom. Of course, one can argue you make many friends and have some interesting chats, but when you’re constantly there it can feel like you see more of the marble tiles than your friends.

Bedtime is also frustrating. I can’t quite remember the last time I had a full nights sleep without waking up to the go to the bathroom. On a good night, I’ll wake up once, but often it can be twice or three times depending. The broken sleep pattern is annoying and leaves me feeling tired throughout the day. There is the notion of holding it in and sleeping through it, but I dislike the discomfort and despite trying it, it doesn’t always work.

I have tried avoiding drinks before sleep, minimising my intake of liquids and even drinking later on nights out so I can avoid having to go to the bathroom too much. Being stuck on public transport can be highly unpleasant, or even on route from a night out in town. The knowledge that there is no public bathroom in the vicinity is always at the back of my mind.

When flying home from London on Sunday night, I used the plane bathroom three times. Whether that was because I’m not a great flier or that I had some Diet Coke prior to that, I’m not sure, but even after we landed and disembarked the plane, I found myself in the bathroom again. Four times in the space of an hour and a half.

Being honest; I never really used to think of it as a problem. I just accepted the fact that I have a bladder the size of small purse. I knew when I drank alcohol, once I went to the bathroom that I would more than likely need to go again in the not so distant future. The same thing applies when I drink caffeinated drinks like Coke or coffee. Any elements of amusement have worn off fairly quickly. Even basic things like trying to hail a taxi in London proved tricky as before we could, I had to find a bathroom. Being nearly in pain because you need to urinate and can only very gingerly walk, or even waddle I suppose. Then there’s the fact that I can get cranky and snappy because of the sheer frustration of it all. Frustration that I need a bathroom and that my bladder seems to be a functioning sprinkler system.

Sometimes I can feel like a small child back in the stages of potty training, terrified at the unlikely prospect that I might actually wet myself someday. I’m not drunk or incontinent, I simply have a small bladder.