Preparing for your appointment

If you have urinary incontinence, you're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. 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 may ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you first experience 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?
July 13, 2017
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Female urinary incontinence and voiding dysfunction (adult). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 2016.
  2. What is urinary incontinence? Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-incontinence. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  3. McAninch JW, et al., eds. Urinary incontinence. In: Smith and Tanagho's General Urology. 18th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2013. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=508§ionid=41088107. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  4. South-Paul JE, et al. Urinary incontinence. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Family Medicine. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  5. Lukacz ES. Evaluation of women with urinary incontinencehttp://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  6. Bladder control problems in women (urinary incontinence). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems-women. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  7. AskMayoExpert. Male urinary incontinence. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 2016.
  8. Bladder control problems in men (urinary incontinence). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems-men. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  9. Gameiro SF, et al. Electrical stimulation with non-implanted electrodes for overactive bladder in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010098.pub4/full. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  10. Jelovsek JE. Surgical management of stress urinary incontinence in women: Choosing a primary surgical procedure. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  11. Frawley J, et al. Complementary and conventional health-care utilization among young Australian women with urinary incontinence. Urology. 2017;99:92.
  12. Mo Q, et al. Acupuncture for adults with overactive bladder: A systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. 2015;5:1.
  13. Solberg M. A pilot study on the use of acupuncture or pelvic floor muscle training for mixed urinary incontinence. Acupuncture Medicine. 2016;34:7.
  14. Vinchurkar AS, et al. Integrating yoga therapy in the management of urinary incontinence: A case report. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2015;20:154.
  15. Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 24, 2017.
  16. Ziegelmann MJ, et al. The impact of prior urethral sling on artificial urinary sphincter outcomes. Canadian Urological Association Journal. 2016;10:405.
  17. Linder BJ, et al. Autologous transobturator urethral sling placement for female stress urinary incontinence: Short-term outcomes. Urology. 2016;93:55.
  18. Lukacz ES. Treatment of urinary incontinence in women. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  19. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Gynecology and the American Urogynecologic Society. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 155: Urinary Incontinence in Women. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015;126:e66.