Opening up about Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) can be embarrassing. No one wants to bring up their occasional leaks and bladder problems in conversation. But there is one person you should be talking about it with – your doctor. Here are some tips to help start having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your SUI.
It is crucial to be honest with your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing for them to accurately diagnose and treat you. It’s also important to be upfront with your doctor about everything your body goes through – alcohol consumption, diet habits, medication, past surgical histories, etc. It’s their job to make sure you are living a happy and comfortable life and to do that, they have to know the whole story. So be honest! Past medical and physical history may be contributing to your SUI, such as obesity, surgery, or vigorous activity over many years. Make sure you’re detailed in describing symptoms so that your incontinence can be accurately diagnosed. For instance, if your leaks are a result of sudden urgency and being unable to make it to the bathroom, you may be suffering from Urge Incontinence and not stress incontinence. Accurately conveying this information would allow your doctor to help you find the cause and get treatment for the kind of incontinence you are experiencing.
If you’re nervous about your upcoming appointment with your PCP, don’t be! A lot of the fear and anxiety that stems from seeing the doctor and talking about symptoms comes from not knowing what the doctor is going to say. Doing some research beforehand can help relieve some of those nerves. Here are some great medical websites with trustworthy information about illnesses, conditions, treatments, and medications:
It is also good to go into appointments having some knowledge about what’s going on with your body to help communicate with your doctor more accurately, instead of using layman’s terms and vague descriptions of what you are experiencing. Plus, learning more about your own body is never a bad thing! If you need to write down some notes or bring in your phone, go for it. Anything that will help you be prepared to face the doctor and have an honest discussion about your health.
Ask the Right Questions
Being honest with your doctor is your job, and being honest with you is theirs. Ask your doctor questions! It’s a good thing to be curious, especially when it comes to your health and wellness. But it’s crucial to make sure you’re asking the right questions when it comes to your SUI. Here are some questions you can ask your doctor at your next appointment.
- Am I experiencing stress incontinence, urge incontinence, or overflow incontinence?
- What can I do to help reduce my leaks?
- What are the side effects of surgical options?
- Should I be worried about a UTI or other infections?
- Should Kegels hurt? Am I doing them correctly?
- Could my symptoms be a sign of something more?
These are just suggestions, and the relationship and repetiteur you have with your doctor will also help guide the conversation. Asking questions and being knowledgeable about your health will help both you and your doctor make the best decisions for your body.
Know Your Options
Come into your appointment knowing your options, backed with the power of research. Often in researching your symptoms, treatment options will become visible in the search as well. There are several options for women suffering from stress incontinence and discussing the pros and cons of each with your doctor can help you choose the best for you.
Incontinence Liners/Underwear – These are disposable products worn like menstrual pad to help absorb leaks.
Surgery – Pelvic mesh surgery can help women reduce leaks by helping support the urinary tract with a piece of surgically attached mesh.
Exercise – Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels can help women regain lost muscle and help reduce leaks.
Discussing what you’re comfortable with and what will work best with your lifestyle can help narrow down your options. Your health should be an open conversation with your doctor and having various options can open it up even more.
Another solution for women suffering from SUI is Revive™. Revive is a bladder support device for women that is safe, effective, and comfortable. It’s available over-the-counter at retailers nationwide without a prescription. Insertion can be comfortably done by yourself and left in for 12 hours for all-day protection. Revive is also reusable to reduce waste created by disposable one-use liners and pads. Ask your doctor about Revive at your next appointment to see if it’s the right option for you! Check out our healthcare professional page for clinical reviews and information on Revive.