Urinary incontinence or the involuntary release of urine is a common problem. Causes include prostate health, injury, neurological problems, infections, and traumatic injury. The first step for finding strategies for living vibrantly with incontinence is talking with your doctor. Here’s what you can expect during your visit.
Prepare for your visit
Your doctor will have questions about any symptoms you are experiencing. Start keeping a bladder diary before your appointment. This will help you doctor identify any patterns or causes. Record how often and how much you urinate and leak urine. Note your daily liquid intake and what was happening when you lost urine. For example, does it happen only when you cough or is your incontinence accompanied by pain or burning? You should also write down any medications (both prescription and over the counter you are taking).
During your visit
Share as much as you can about your symptoms and how they are impacting you. Your doctor will also want to know about your health history. A physical examination will give your doctor a clearer understanding of your symptoms. In some cases, additional testing, such as imagining or urinalysis, is required.
As mentioned earlier in this article there are many causes of incontinence. There are also a few types. Your doctor will recommend a course of action depending on the cause and type of incontinence you have. The most common is stress incontinence – urine is released with coughing or sneezing; overflow, where the bladder does not empty completely and urge incontinence – here, the urge to urinate is so sudden and strong you may have an accident before reaching the toilet.
Understanding the underlying cause of incontinence is critical for regaining control or reducing accidents. Your doctor may recommend conservative options before trying surgery. These can include lifestyle and dietary changes, bladder training, pelvic floor strengthening, and medications. Don’t be discouraged if improvements happen more slowly than you would like. Stay with the treatment plan and make note of any patterns or changes.
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