Questions For The Doctor
You may not be surprised to know that many people find doctor’s appointments stressful, forgetting the details of what they were told and remembering questions after they’ve left! And when it comes to continence issues, embarrassment can be an additional hindrance.
Easier to say than do, but bear in mind doctors are professionals and likely to have heard it all before– and more. You may think your continence problem is unique and embarrassing but, from the doctor’s perspective, it’s routine.
There’s a useful article on Health.com titled How to Tell Your Doctor About Your Embarrassing Problems. They also ran a poll that found 47% of respondents had ignored a health problem because of embarrassment. Incontinence must be discussed with a doctor as it can be a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be investigated.
Most GPs start with ‘How can I help you today?’ and it’s best to jump straight in. Use words you’re comfortable with such as ‘I’m wetting myself when I laugh’ or ‘I’m finding I suddenly need to go to the loo and don’t always make it.’ Write it down beforehand, even rehearse it to yourself. Once you get the issue out, the doctor will usually take over the discussion by asking questions to find out more.
Do tell your doctor if incontinence is interfering with your lifestyle. It may be having an impact on exercise or your ability to fully participate in social activities. And don’t be afraid to talk about how its making you feel – your mental wellbeing is as important as your physical health.
To assist the doctor with diagnosing the underlying cause of your continence issues, complete a Bladder Diary before your appointment. (This link, from the Queensland Government website has a printable diary form, as well as instructions.) This needs to be completed for three consecutive days and allows you to record your fluid input, output, the degree of ‘urge’ and any involuntary leaks.
The doctor may also ask about your diet, bowel habits, lifestyle and any regular medications.
You might also want to prepare some questions beforehand. Here are some starters:
What type of incontinence am I experiencing and what’s the underlying issue causing it? (For example, a weakened pelvic floor muscle could be responsible for stress incontinence or a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) might be causing urge incontinence
- Is it temporary?
- Will it resolve on its own or will it require treatment?
- What kind of tests might be needed to confirm the prognosis and determine the treatment?
- Are there lifestyle changes that could improve – or even eradicate – the issue?
- Could pelvic floor muscle exercises help?
- What treatments are suitable for this specific type of incontinence?
- Are there any side effects from the treatment?
- I am concerned as it is interfering with intimacy with my partner can you please advise?
Your GP will typically be your first port of call. Depending on your needs, you may be referred to one of these specialists:
- A urologist, specialises in the study or treatment of the function and disorders of the urinary system.
- A gynecologist, specialisesin women’s reproductive health
- A urogynecologist, typically a gynecologist who focuses on women’s continence issues
- A gastroenterologist is an expert in all aspects of the digestive system and may be recommended if you have faecal incontinence
- Geriatricians, are doctors who specialise in the needs of older people
- A physiotherapist, some of whom specialise solely in continence issues
Different doctors and specialist will go about diagnosis in their own way, but some common testing procedures include
- Requesting a urine sample to test for a bacterial infection
- A physical examination of the abdomen and pelvic region to, check for any abnormalities
- A cystoscopy, which is when a thin tube with a camera is inserted into the urethra to see what’s happening inside the bladder
- A urodynamic test, which is conducted to measure pressure in the bladder and urine flow
- A bladder stress test, which requires a full bladder and the addition of stress, such as coughing hard, to test for leaks.
While you’re awaiting an appointment or even if you’ve already started treatment, you may want the security of an absorbent product. All TENA products have been designed to handle the thinner, faster flow of a weak bladder, rapidly absorbing and locking away fluid, keeping you dry and odour free.
Take advantage of our Product Finder Tool, and Free Samples find the product that best suits you.
Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.
Pelvic Floor Exercising
Supports and helps control bladder and bowel function. Strengthening the pelvic floor can improve most types of incontinence and in some cases, even resolve it altogether.
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