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?