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Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds is one of Hollywood's most celebrated actresses.  Born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas on April 1, 1932, Debbie Reynolds' film career began at MGM after she won a beauty contest at age 16.  In 2002, Debbie Reynolds celebrates her fifty-fourth year in show business as a star of more than thirty motion pictures, two Broadway shows, and two television series, as well as dozens of television appearances, here and abroad. 

Debbie Reynolds has been nominated for numerous awards, including an Academy Award (for The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1965), Golden Globe (for Television, "The Debbie Reynolds Show," 1970, and Motion Picture, Mother, 1997) and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards (for In & Out, 1997).  In 1997 she received the "Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy" from the American Comedy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Today, Debbie Reynolds is actively involved in the collection and preservation of memorabilia from Hollywood's first half-century of film-making.  She has gathered more than 3,000 costumes and 46,000 square-feet worth of props and mementos from Hollywood studios, which she plans to house in a Hollywood Motion Picture and Television museum in Los Angeles.

Most recently, Ms. Reynolds launched "Standing Ovations," a consumer education campaign to raise awareness of overactive bladder - a condition that affects more than 17 million Americans.  After suffering for years with overactive bladder, Debbie Reynolds is sharing her personal story to encourage people with the condition to seek proper diagnosis and treatment.

Overactive Bladder

As an actress, I've always led a very active life.  But when I began to experience symptoms of overactive bladder, my life really started to slow down.  At first I assumed that the problems I was encountering, like more frequent trips to the bathroom, were just a natural part of aging. I had no idea that my symptoms signaled a medical condition or that there are treatments available.  To make matters worse, I was too embarrassed to talk with anyone about the situation, so I just learned to cope.  I never left the house before going to the bathroom; I made sure I knew where the restroom was located when I went out; and I tried to avoid or at least limit any long trips. 

Finally, I got so tired of the inconvenience that I decided to confide in my girlfriends.  As it turned out, many of them had experienced the same problem, but they had gotten help.  They encouraged me to speak with my doctor, and now I am glad I did.  Not only did I receive treatment, but I also learned that I'm one of 17 million Americans with a condition known as overactive bladder. (And, the majority are women!)

Because of my personal experience, I am delighted to join with the Pharmacia Corporation to present Standing Ovations, a consumer education campaign to empower people to speak up and seek help for overactive bladder. 

Unfortunately, many people with the condition do assume their symptoms are just a natural part of growing older.  Others feel they are too young to have a bladder control problem.  As I've learned, overactive bladder can affect men and women at any age.  And while treatment is available, many people remain undiagnosed because, like I was, they are too embarrassed to talk about their condition.  People cope in many different ways, some avoid places without easily accessible restroom facilities, some wear dark clothing and pads, and some withdraw from the activities they love, even visiting family or friends. Through the Standing Ovations campaign, I hope to spread the word that no one should have to plan his or her life around an overactive bladder.

As we grow older, we can be affected by conditions that keep us from leading as active a life as we'd like.  That doesn't mean we have to give up the activities we enjoy. Two of the best ways I know to keep going are taking care of your body and communicating with your physician on a regular basis. Please speak with your doctor if you're experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder.  Medications like Detrol LA, dietary and behavioral modifications, and exercises can help manage the condition so you can keep doing the things you love. For me, that means entertaining audiences and sharing important information so we can all continue to live life to the fullest for as long as possible.

The symptoms of overactive bladder include:

  • A strong, sudden urge to urinate
  • Urinating more than eight times over a 24-hour period (including waking up to urinate two or more times a night)
  • Wetting accidents

If these symptoms sound like something you're experiencing, I encourage you to answer the questions below.  Then print them out and make an appointment to talk with your doctor to find out if what you are experiencing is an overactive bladder. 

Please, don't put off discussing this with your doctor.  You deserve a "standing ovation" for seeking help.  Remember, life's too short for intermissions like overactive bladder.

__ Do you go to the bathroom so often that it interferes with the things you want to do (often more than 8 times in 24 hours)?
__ Do you always have to know where the bathroom is because of frequent, strong, sudden urges to urinate?
__ Do you sometimes not make it to the bathroom in time?
__ Do you sometimes wear pads or liners to protect your clothes from wetting?
__ Do you go to the bathroom so often at night that it interrupts your sleep (2 or more times)?

For more information on incontinence, click here.
For more information about the Standing Ovations Campaign, click here.
For more information about Debbie Reynolds, click here.

Created: 9/15/2002  -  Debbie Reynolds

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