Preparing for a Visit
Good for you! You've decided to take the first step toward better understanding why you may be experiencing incontinence symptoms and what can be done to help resume your normal activities and lifestyle.
What to Expect
Knowing what to expect during the first visit can make it a more comfortable experience. Here's what typically takes place during an initial appointment.
Your healthcare provider will ask a number of questions about your bladder or bowel habits, your consumption of food and beverages, and the ways bladder or bowel control problems may be interfering with your lifestyle.
- How often do you urinate each day, and how much liquid do you drink?
- Do you leak urine when you cough or exercise?
- Do you have to rush to the toilet or sometimes not make it?
- Do you have trouble starting your urine stream, or completely emptying your bladder?
- How many times do you get up at night to use the toilet?
- Does it ever hurt or burn when you urinate, or have a bad odor or appear dark yellow?
- When did this problem of leakage start?
- How often do you wet your clothing?
- How many pads do you wear each day?
- Are they wet when you change them?
- How often do you have a bowel movement?
- How would you describe your stools: soft, soft and formed, or hard?
- Are they easy or difficult to pass?
Your doctor or nurse will also ask you about your diet, the amount of exercise you get, and whether or not you smoke.
It will be helpful to bring a list of your other doctors, any medical conditions you have, and the medications you take (including vitamins and over-the-counter medicines) to your appointment. Be ready to discuss any operations you have had and when you had them. Women should be prepared to discuss the number of pregnancies, the weight of their babies and whether they were delivered vaginally or via Caesarean section. Make a list of the most annoying, disruptive or inconvenient problems related to your incontinence.
On the day of your appointment, expect to be asked for a urine specimen, as well as to give a complete medical history and have a physical examination. In a follow-up visit, other tests may be performed. Be sure to ask if there will be other tests, and if so, how you should prepare for them.