Tammy Strickland is like an estimated 33-million Americans who suffer from overactive bladders.
For Tammy--overactive may be an understatement.
"In a three day period it was documented that I went 89 times," Tammy said.
That was a little more than three months ago--but Tammy said she's has had an overactive bladder since she was a kid.
"It became so often that it was about every hour during the night and 15 to 30 minutes during the day."
Tammy said she's never sat through an entire movie and road trips were like a bad sequel.
"There was a time that we drove to New Mexico and by the time we left Keller and we got to Weatherford I had gone 20 times." Tammy said.
Tammy says her life improved greatly after going to see Dr. Keith Xavier at Urology Associates of North Texas in Grapevine.
Dr. Xavier said 80% of people who have overactive bladders are women.
"Although patients don't have much urine in their bladder they feel like they do and they have to go a lot more often than someone without that problem who normally wouldn't feel it."
Dr. Xavier said lifestyle changes and medications usually help but for many--including Tammy--they have to turn to nerve stimulation therapy in which a battery pack is implanted in the small of the back and sends a signal to bladder.
"Through stimulating the nerve that goes to the bladder we can actually make the bladder relax more, spasm less and hold more urine," Dr. Xavier said.
The implant works on about 70% of patients.
As for Tammy--she no longer goes to the restroom 89 times in 3 days.
Three months after the implant she's down to 38.
"My life has changed incredibly," Tammy said. "I can make it at least three hours which is huge for me."
And what about the simple pleasure of watching a movie?
Life is now showtime.
"Now I can sit through an entire whole movie," Tammy said. "I can drink a coke and eat popcorn--and make all the way home!"
Tammy will have to have the battery pack replaced in about five years.
Dr. Xavier said Botox is working well in trial studies but right now it's not approved for bladder control use.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times