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?