If you have urinary incontinence, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist), or if you're a woman, a gynecologist with special training in female bladder problems and urinary function (urogynecologist).
What you can do
To get ready for your appointment, it helps to:
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as restricting your diet.
- Write down your symptoms, including how often you urinate, nighttime bladder activity and episodes of incontinence.
- Make a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements, including doses and how often you take the medication.
- Write down key medical information, including other conditions you may have.
- Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
- Take a notebook or electronic device with you, and use it to note important information during your visit.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For urinary incontinence, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is my urinary incontinence temporary?
- What treatments are available?
- Should I anticipate any side effects of the treatment?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for me?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Aug. 07, 2014
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- How often do you need to urinate?
- When do you leak urine?
- Do you have trouble emptying your bladder?
- Have you noticed blood in your urine?
- Do you smoke?
- How often do you drink alcohol and caffeinated beverages?
- How often do you eat spicy, sugary or acidic foods?
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- Schimpf MO, et al. Sling surgery for stress urinary incontinence in women: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. In press. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- De Cogain MR, et al. The impact of an antibiotic coating on the artificial urinary sphincter infection rate. The Journal of Urology. 2013;190:113.
- Wang Y, et al. Acupuncture for stress urinary incontinence in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009408.pub2/abstract. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- Paik SH, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of urinary incontinence: A review of randomized controlled trials. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2013;6:773.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 25, 2014.
- Hersh L, et al. Clinical management of urinary incontinence in women. American Family Physician. 2013;87:634.
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