Preparing for your appointment

You may be asked to keep a bladder diary for a few days to record information, such as how often you urinate and how much and what kinds of fluid you consume.

For more testing, you may be referred to a specialist in urinary disorders (urologist) or urinary disorders in women (urogynecologist).

What you can do

To get the most from your visit to the doctor, prepare in advance:

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing. Include all of your symptoms, even if you don't think they're related.
  • Make a list of any medications, vitamins or other supplements you take. Many over-the-counter supplements can irritate the urinary tract. Also note the doses and how often you take the medication or supplements.
  • Have a family member or close friend go with you. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
  • Take a notepad or an electronic device with you. Use it to note important information during your visit.
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.

For interstitial cystitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Will my symptoms eventually go away?
  • What kind of tests might I need?
  • Will changing my diet help with my symptoms?
  • Could the medicines I take be aggravating my condition?
  • Are there any medications that would help ease my symptoms?
  • Will I need surgery?

Make sure that you understand what your doctor tells you. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions for clarification.

What to expect from your doctor

Be prepared to answer questions from your doctor. Potential questions your doctor might ask include:

  • How often do you feel the urge to urinate with little or no warning?
  • Do you feel the urge to urinate immediately after you've urinated?
  • Do you ever urinate less than two hours after you finished urinating?
  • Do you wake up at night to urinate?
  • Do you have pain or burning in your bladder?
  • Do you feel pain in your abdomen or pelvis?
  • Are you currently sexually active?
  • How much do your symptoms bother you?
Oct. 11, 2016
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  7. Longo DL, et al., eds. Dysuria, bladder pain, and the interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. Accessed July 1, 2016.
  8. The urinary tract and how it works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Accessed July 1, 2016.
  9. Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Ariz. July 7, 2016.
  10. Pang R, et al. The Chinese approach to complementary and alternative medicine for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. Translational Andrology and Urology. 2015;4:653.
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