Talking to Your Doctor About Urinary Incontinence
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with urinary incontinence. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and ask questions you may not have thought of to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and ask for clarification if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions about where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Your Risk of Developing Urinary Incontinence
- Based on my medical history, am I at risk of developing urinary incontinence?
- Should I start Kegel exercises or estrogen cream (for women) now to help prevent incontinence later on?
- Do any of the medications I take increase my risk?
- Are there other things I can do to reduce my risk?
About the Cause of Urinary Incontinence
- What could have caused my incontinence?
- Is there more than one factor/cause?
About Your Risk of Developing Complications From Urinary Incontinence
- What topical treatment do you recommend to keep the urine from breaking down my skin?
- Are there other complications that I should be aware of?
About Treatment Options
- What treatment plan do you recommend?
- Are there any new treatments that might be better than the current standard?
- Do you recommend that I participate in a clinical trial?
- Is there a clinical trial appropriate for me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Are there any medications that will supplement my fluid restriction and prolong the time between visits to the bathroom?
- Will medications like these be safe for me to use?
- How often should I do Kegel exercises?
- What about regular physical exercise, what type of exercise is safest for me?
- Can I be cured?
- If I am cured, could the problem return?
- Will my treatment have any lasting negative effects?
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated May 2014. Accessed December 29, 2015.
Urinary incontinence in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900624/Urinary-incontinence-in-men. Updated July 22, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900573/Urinary-incontinence-in-women. Updated August 15, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.