Incontinence is a common problem affecting millions of men. But when you are among that number it feels as if you alone are dealing with the shame. Think of incontinence as a medical condition (which it is), not a personal failing or weakness (which it isn’t). Deciding to talk with your doctor can open the door to treatment that helps you manage or stop incontinence. Tell your doctor all your medical issues as soon as you can.
Tell your doctor about your incontinence
Start with your primary care physician. Be as open as you can about any changes in your urinary habits that cause you concern or discomfort. Common concerns include feeling more urgency (intense need to urinate, accidents before you reach the toilet) or experiencing small leaks when you exert yourself. Your doctor will talk with you about any current medications and your health history.
If your incontinence is caused by an infection or medication, your doctor can change or prescribe medication as needed. Talking to your doctor is also important because it will help you rule out and/or treat other health conditions such as diabetes. The bottom line is ignoring incontinence will not make it go away. It is a signal that there is a medical problem that must be addressed.
Your doctor can help
Again, incontinence impacts millions of men. Your doctor has experience with treatments and strategies that can bring relief. Technology has made a wide range of option from surgery to therapy and collection systems available. Insurance providers often require a letter of medical necessity and/or prescription for incontinence products. If you don’t tell your doctor that you have a problem with leaking or incontinence your insurance won’t approve covering your incontinence supplies. The sooner you talk with your doctor the sooner you can get ahead of the problem.
Tips for talking with your doctor
Your doctor will need a full understanding of how you are experiencing incontinence to better help you. Share as much as you can about:
- Any medications you are taking
- How often/much you are leaking (quantify if you can)
- How your bathroom habits have changed (how often do you urinate, how much)
- Are you experiencing any physical discomfort, including aches or burning?
- Your dietary habits (do you use caffeine, alcohol, nicotine)
- Your medical history, including any surgeries
- What you have tried to far (for example, Kegel’s)
- What you would like to try or have more information about (for example, surgery, diapers, catheters, Men’s Liberty or bladder training)
Although it feels like you are the only one when incontinence happens, remember that you aren’t. Your doctor has experience talking with men who have incontinence. When you talk to your doctor you get the benefit of his knowledge to determine the best options for your unique situation.