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How to Approach Your Medical Professional About Urinary Incontinence

how to approach medical professional about urinary incontinence

Like most medical conditions, urinary incontinence must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional before it can be properly treated. However, many people tend to put off talking to a doctor about their issues with urinary incontinence. Despite this, please know that your doctor just wants to help. But they can’t help if you don’t let them know what’s going on. That’s why it’s important to approach your medical professional about any issues with urinary incontinence.

Do I Have a Right to Keep My Incontinence Issues Private?

It is important to remember that every medical professional wants to help their patients. Part of their job is to help you feel more comfortable in sharing your medical history and issues with them. One thing to remember, which may help any apprehension about talking about urinary incontinence with your medical professional, is that they must adhere to doctor-patient confidentiality.

your doctor will listen to your symptoms to determine treatment plan

Under today’s healthcare privacy laws, you have the right to keep your health information private. Your medical professional cannot share your health information for reasons that aren’t directly related to your care without your permission.

In other words, they can’t tell other people or talk about your condition with other people. However, with your permission, your medical supply provider can receive a prescription in order to fulfill your need for incontinence supplies.

What are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?

Your doctor or another qualified medical professional will rely on hearing your symptoms to distinguish the proper diagnosis. Plus, they need to know your symptoms to come up with the right treatment or incontinence management plan.

However, to get started, here are the different types of urinary incontinence that can develop.

1. Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is a type of urine leakage that occurs with movement like exercise or even coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

2. Overflow Incontinence

Overflow urinary incontinence typically consists of dribbling urine throughout the day or night. This may be due to not being able to empty your bladder. Intermittent catheterization is sometimes a helpful solution to reduce leakage while also making sure your bladder is fully drained.

3. Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is characterized by a sudden urge to urinate, which is followed by an involuntary release of urine. You may experience an urge to urinate frequently, even at night. This may also lead to nighttime accidents, which is also known as nocturnal enuresis.

4. Functional Incontinence

This happens when someone needs to go to the bathroom but can’t make it in time. Functional incontinence is often due to conditions such as dementia, brain injury, stroke, or a physical disability.

5. Mixed Incontinence

Lastly, people who experience one or more of the above types of incontinence have what is called mixed incontinence. This means they experience multiple symptoms of various types of urinary incontinence.

How Do I Prepare to Talk to a Medical Professional About Urinary Incontinence?

Because your medical professional relies on your feedback to diagnose and treat your issue, one of the best ways to relieve the anxiety of talking to a doctor about incontinence is coming prepared for the appointment.

Consider maintaining a bladder diary, which is a great start to providing your doctor with straightforward information about the urinary incontinence symptoms you’re experiencing.

how to keep a bladder diary

Your bladder diary should include:

  • Everything you eat or drink during the week
  • How often you go to the bathroom, including if you must get up during the night
  • A record of all urine leakage accidents

Also, be sure to bring a current list of any medications or supplements you take regularly. This is because certain supplements and medications, both prescription and over the counter, could potentially impact your urinary incontinence symptoms.

What Type of Medical Professional Should I Talk to About Urinary Incontinence?

Several different types of doctors or medical professionals can offer your treatment and help with urinary incontinence.

Primary Care Physician or General Practitioner

First, you can consider seeing your primary care doctor, which is sometimes known as a general practitioner. Your primary care physician should be able to diagnose and treat minor urologic issues like light urinary incontinence.

However, they may refer you to see a doctor who specializes in urologic issues, such as a urologist or urogynecologist.

Urologist or Urogynecologist

Urologists and urogynecologist are specialists in the field of urology and the urinary system. Also, urogynecologists have specialized training in the female urinary system and pelvic conditions in females, so they may be a good go-to if you’re experiencing female incontinence, which you suspect could be related to childbirth, pregnancy, or hormonal issues.

What Are My Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence?

Sometimes, incontinence treatment is as simple as a few lifestyle changes, such as dietary habits or adding Kegel exercises (pelvic floor exercises) to your daily routine. Your doctor may recommend managing your urinary incontinence with incontinence supplies as well.

what type of incontinence supplies do i need

In other cases, your medical professional may prescribe medication or recommend surgery to treat more severe cases of incontinence.

Above all, the important thing is to take that first step by approaching your medical professional about your incontinence. This will get you much closer to finding the relief you need through diagnosis and treatment.

If you need incontinence products to manage your symptoms, 180 Medical is here for you. Our friendly Incontinence Specialists will be glad to be your source of support as we work with you and your doctor to customize your supply orders. Contact us today!

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About the Author
How to Approach Your Medical Professional About Urinary Incontinence
180 Medical is a nationally-accredited provider of intermittent catheters, incontinence supplies, and ostomy products.

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