If you are experiencing incontinence, it may be difficult to know what to do about your condition. According to recent statistics, adults wait an average of 4 years before speaking to a health care professional about their bladder issues. This means that by the time you go see a Urologist about your bladder issues, you’ve had quite a bit of experience managing your incontinence, likely using incontinence products. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 questions you should ask your Urologist.
Another thing you want to know is what is causing your incontinence and if you have any underlying conditions. It could be the result of an enlarged prostate for men, or weakened pelvic floor muscles for women. In older adults, it could be the result of dementia or limited mobility (functional incontinence). Knowing the cause of your incontinence will help you and your doctor determine the next steps and lifestyle changes needed for improvement.
2. What type of incontinence am I experiencing?
It is important to ask your Urologist what type of incontinence he or she believes you have. There are a variety of treatments, modifications, and surgeries that can be performed depending on your type of incontinence. Your Urologist may recommend different incontinence products and lifestyle changes based on the incontinence you are experiencing.
3. Is there anything I can do to fix it?
Your doctor may recommend medical procedures, medications, and/or lifestyle changes to fix or improve your incontinence condition. It depends on the specifics of your condition, but there are numerous surgical procedures your Urologist may recommend to fix your problem. However, it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits and lifestyle changes required with any treatment of your incontinence, from incontinence products to surgical treatments.
4. What lifestyle changes can I make to help my incontinence?
Alluded to above, there may be certain lifestyle changes that can be made to help manage your incontinence. Ask your Urologist if there are changes you can make to improve your condition. He or she may suggest alterations to your diet, fluid intake, and exercise routine. In addition, smoking and drinking alcohol can worsen incontinence, so your doctor may recommend limiting or eliminating smoking and drinking alcohol.
5. How will different treatments affect my lifestyle?
Incontinence can alter the way you live your life. As you work with your Urologist to find a solution, it is important to ask how treatments will affect your lifestyle and the activities you love. You should find a solution that will best allow you to continue to enjoy life with dignity and confidence. Incontinence should not significantly limit you from participating in the activities you enjoy.
6. Is the incontinence product I’m using the right one? Do I need something more absorbent?
If you’ve been experiencing incontinence for some time before you visit the Urologist (like most adults), you’ve likely been using incontinence products (or feminine hygiene products) you found at the grocery store or online. Your doctor can help you determine if the type of incontinence product you are using (pad, liner, guard, brief, pull-on, etc.) is the right one for your situation. Additionally, the incontinence products you find in the grocery store tend to be for light incontinence (light dribbles or leaks). So if you are experiencing heavier incontinence, or you are changing your product and/or clothes every few hours, you likely need something more absorbent. Some adults believe that being incontinent means that you leak urine and need change clothes and linens all the time, but that is not true! Brands like Tranquility provide significantly more absorbency and protection than what you find at the grocery store.
There are so many questions to ask your Urologist about your incontinence. You may be embarrassed or nervous to talk about it, it can be a private, personal condition that is difficult to discuss. However, it is very important that you see a Urologist and ask these 6 questions! Hopefully this will get you started down a path to improving your incontinence and getting back to the people and activities you love.