Whether you were recently diagnosed with incontinence or have been suffering with overactive bladder issues for years, developing a partnership with your doctor is an important part of managing your condition.
It starts with an open, honest dialogue to gain a clear understanding of what your condition is, how it affects you, how you can minimize symptoms and live a normal, active and happy life. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some basic questions to ask at your next doctor’s appointment.
What is incontinence and/or overactive bladder? Are they the same thing?
First and foremost, you want to understand exactly what your condition is and how it will affect your daily life. Your doctor will help identify the exact kind of bladder condition you have.
What symptoms should I expect to experience?
Understanding what to expect can help you better prepare and manage your condition more effectively. For some, this may just be the constant urge to go, while others may experience leakage or accidents.
What are the causes of incontinence or overactive bladder?
There are many different types and causes of bladder issues, and some may be more treatable than others. For instance, if your incontinence is caused by stress, you may be able to get it entirely under control by reducing or eliminating the things that are causing you emotional distress.
What could trigger a bladder episode?
This is a key question, and while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there are certain similarities that most individuals with bladder conditions share. For example, liquid intake and diet tend to impact most incontinence sufferers. For others, it might be engaging in certain physical activities or other triggers. Keeping a bladder diary can help you and your doctor pinpoint your specific triggers.
Do I need to see a specialist?
This will depend entirely on your specific condition, its cause, and its severity. Your doctor will determine whether the assistance of a specialist or urologist is necessary.
What kinds of treatments are available?
Similarly, your physician will determine the type of treatment strategy that would be best for your particular situation. For some, prescribed medications can help ease symptoms and reduce the frequency of episodes. Others may require a surgical procedure. Still others may be comfortable managing their condition with the help of absorbent products such as protective pads.
What changes can I make that might help control my symptoms?
There are certain habits and activities that are believed to make bladder issues worse, such as smoking and obesity. Your doctor will be able to recommend certain lifestyle changes that might help to reduce or even eliminate your symptoms altogether.
Will my incontinence keep me from enjoying a normal life?
Urinary incontinence affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, so you’re most certainly not alone. Talking with your doctor can help you better accept and understand how to deal with your condition. With the right strategy and your doctor’s support, you can absolutely live a normal, active life.
Having incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s something you should be open and honest about, especially with your doctor. By knowing what questions to ask and which topics to discuss with your physician, you’ll be much better able to manage your condition with confidence and control.