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Talking to Your Doctor About Urinary Incontinence

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The more you know about your health, the better prepared you are to make informed healthcare decisions. Our health library gives you the information you need to take charge of your health.

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?
About Outlook
  • Can I be cured?
  • If I am cured, could the problem return?
  • Will my treatment have any lasting negative effects?

Revision Information

  • Incontinence. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=143 . Updated January 2011. Accessed September 6, 2011.

  • What is incontinence? National Association for Continence website. Available at: http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/ . Accessed September 6, 2011.