Former model reveals shocking reason she hasn’t peed for two years
We've all had the sorry experience of urgently needing to empty our bladders at an awkward moment, and having no way of relieving ourselves. It absolutely sucks when you're in agony holding it in, wondering if you're going to wet yourself before you reach a toilet stall. At times like this, it's easy to wish (somewhat wistfully) to never have to need to pee again. But what if you were rendered unable to urinate for a whole two years? It would probably be pretty painful in reality.
The idea may sound far-fetched, but that's the exact situation that former model Leanne Ward, who lives in the south of Wales, has found herself in. This is because Leanne suffers from something called Fowler’s Syndrome; a rare condition that typically affects young women, which forces them to retain urine because the urethra's sphincter is unable to relax and release fluid stored in the bladder.
The trouble first started back in 2015, when Leanne went through an appendicitis operation (at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, Glamorgan) to remove the swollen organ. During the operation the doctor's discovered what they believed to be an ovarian cyst, which they now believe had put pressure on the muscles in Leanne's crotch, which left her unable to properly urinate.
Doctors used botox injections to loosen the muscles around the sphincter area, and for three months Leanne was able to pee again. But unfortunately it was only a short-term fix, and now Leanne has been forced to revert back to using a catheter (which she has humorously nicknamed "Percy"). She also regularly suffers from kidney and bladder and urinary tract infections as a result of her situation.
Commenting on her diagnosis, Leanne stated: "I felt so relieved to have a reason for everything. It was good to have answers. It was amazing. It wasn’t nice to have Fowler’s Syndrome, but to have a direction as to where to go next was good ... People don’t know that Fowler’s Syndrome is a thing. But it is – and it’s serious. It’s so rare that often when I’ve visited the doctor’s or the hospital, people haven’t heard of it. But it’s an extremely difficult thing to live with."
However, things are not all bad, and Leanne is determined to take action. She and her friends, who also suffer from the condition, have recently started campaigning to raise awareness of Fowler's syndrome. Leanne stated: "We believe more research is needed as it was discovered more than 30 years ago,” she said. We don’t expect a cure, but we want advances in treatment and all healthcare professionals to be aware of it. This starts with awareness. I’ve created a Facebook video about it which has had more than 18,000 views."
So next time your desperate to relieve yourself: take a moment to be grateful that you actually can, because unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky...