I think I may have incontinence. I know I need to contact my GP but the fear of the unknown makes me feel a little uneasy and anxious! I was just wondering if anyone knows how incontinence is diagnosed? What will they do to me? what may they ask me to do?
Incontinence is more common than you think, so do not be worried about talking to a Doctor about this. The NHS estimates that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of incontinence. A Doctor deals with this problem on almost a daily basis, so you are not alone in talking to them about this.
The process Doctors go through to diagnose incontinence is not invasive, so do not be worried about this. Firstly, describing your symptoms to your Doctor can help them to determine which type of incontinence you have. Your Doctor will likely do a history and physical and history exam. To determine whether or you are not suffering from stress incontinence, your Doctor will ask you to do a simple manoeuvre such as coughing.
A sample of your urine is then checked for signs of infection and other abnormalities to ensure you do not have an underlying health condition.
You are then likely to be asked to urinate into a container to measure urine output. Your Doctor will then check the amount of leftover urine in your bladder using a catheter or ultrasound test. This is to identify whether you have an obstruction in your urinary tract or a problem with your bladder nerves.
In preparation for your appointment, it can be useful to keep a bladder diary. This includes recording when you urinate, the amount of urine produced, whether you had an urge to urinate and the number of incontinence episodes.
Your Doctor will point you in the right direction for treatment, which can life-changing. Speaking up about your incontinence can improve your quality of life, so do not let embarrassment get in the way of doing this.
Would you like any tips on managing your incontinence in the meantime? If you describe your symptoms, I am more than happy to recommend some lifestyle tips. Feel free to read about the types of incontinence in the meantime.