09

ideas submitted that could potentially solve Fernando’s challenge

Diagnosed with MS 12 years ago, Fernando was forced to take early retirement due the daily struggles he faces with bladder control.

Fernando’s challenge

Fernando struggles with bladder control.

“My challenge is preventing my issues with bladder control caused by my MS from automatically having a negative effect on my social relationships, lowering my self-esteem and seriously reducing my independence, due to not enjoying the freedom to travel on public transport.”

The impact on Fernando's life

Unpredictability

The urgency to urinate that Fernando experiences can happen at any time, and it’s this unpredictability that means everyday activities – from getting the bus to simply going for a walk – can be a real source of fear and anxiety, having a huge impact on his self-confidence.

“This is preventing me from being confident enough to go out. I can’t go anywhere. Healthy people say ‘let’s go for a walk’, and you just go for a walk. You don’t have to be concerned or think about ‘have I gone to the bathroom recently? Will I have to go to the bathroom soon? How soon? What if I get into trouble?’”

Social stigma

After years of worrying about embarrassing himself in client meetings, it was Fernando’s challenge that led to his early retirement. The misunderstanding from society and the constant stress his challenge causes impacts on his self-esteem, and sometimes he feels he’s not socially accepted.

“I jump into a lot of situations where people don’t understand what I am doing, believing that I have no conscience, and I am impolite, and that it is very disgusting.”

The bigger picture

Bladder problems arise when MS lesions block or delay transmission of nerve signals that control the bladder and urinary sphincters, and can manifest as a number of different issues from increased frequency and urgency of urination to night-time urination and incontinence.1

With bladder dysfunction affecting up to 80% of people living with MS,1 Fernando isn’t alone:

 

“Once I am in my electric wheelchair I feel free, except for one small detail…INCONTINENCE! I bought GOGIRL so I could urinate standing up like men, for when there are no disabled facilities available.”

– Simona, Italy – The World vs.MS challenger

“It is very difficult to arrange with friends to go for a drink or out for dinner due to the urinary incontinence.”

– Colectivo, Spain – The World vs.MS challenger

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References: 1. Bladder problems. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Available at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Bladder-Dysfunction. Last accessed: August 2016. 2. Prevalence and incidence of multiple sclerosis. MS Trust. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/prevalence-and-incidence-multiple-sclerosis Last accessed: August 2016. 3. Introduction to MS. MS Trust. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/understanding-ms/what-ms/introduction-ms. Last accessed: August 2016.

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