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Woman left unable to wee for entire year no matter how much she drank

Claire Reid

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman left unable to wee for entire year no matter how much she drank

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

A woman who was unable to wee for a year was diagnosed with a rare condition which she says ‘completely changed’ her life.

Elle Adams, 30, first realised something was wrong in October 2020 when she woke up one day and was able to go to the toilet.

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Despite knocking back plenty of fluids, it made no difference and Elle eventually took herself to the hospital where doctors found her bladder was holding an entire litre of urine - to put that in context, a woman's bladder is usually able to hold up to 500ml.

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At the hospital, Elle was fitted with an emergency catheter - a tube that's passed into the bladder to drain urine.

A week later, she had an appointment with an urology specialist who taught Elle how to self-catheter and she was sent home.

Elle Adams woke up one day and wasn't able to wee. Credit: SWNS
Elle Adams woke up one day and wasn't able to wee. Credit: SWNS

Elle Adams, a content creator from Bow, east London, said: "I was extremely healthy. I had no other problems.

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"I woke up one day and I wasn't able to wee. I was very concerned. I was at breaking point - my life had completely changed. I wasn't able to complete a simple task like go to the toilet "

But it would be 14-months of being unable to wee as normal, before she finally got her diagnosis of Fowler's syndrome - an inability to pass water - in December 2021.

Elle said: "I was told how I was likely suffering from Fowler's. I was talked through the treatment options which were minimal - we did try medication but it just made no difference.

She has since been diagnosed with a condition called Fowler's syndrome. Credit: SWNS
She has since been diagnosed with a condition called Fowler's syndrome. Credit: SWNS
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"My only option for me was to undergo sacral nerve stimulation which acts as a pacemaker for the bladder.”

Sacral nerve stimulation delivers gentle electrical impulses through a probe - a thin wire - that is placed near the sacral nerve.

Similar to a pacemaker but instead of stimulating someone's heartbeat it stimulates someone's bowel muscles, so they work normally.

In January this year, Elle underwent the operation and is already feeling the benefits.

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Elle said: "It is not life-changing, but it can help. I catheterise a lot less, around 50 percent less. It has made my life easier, after two years of hell it is all I can ask for.

She has been told she’ll need to catheterise for life. Credit: SWNS
She has been told she’ll need to catheterise for life. Credit: SWNS

"I am doing well, I am on the more ‘well’ side of Fowler's. I am grateful for the difference, I am feeling better than I was.

"I couldn't have imagined how I was going on before, it was so draining, and it took up my life it was becoming hard to imagine that would have been the case forever.

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"Now I can wee on my own, I have cut down my self-catheterisation a lot. It is still difficult, but it is much better than it was."

Topics: Health

Claire Reid
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