INCONTINENCE: 3 Simple Questions, Important Answers
Helping your doctor pinpoint the cause
If you suffer from a leaky bladder, you can actually help your doctor pinpoint the cause and treatment for incontinence without expensive tests, according to a recent study.
Three questions for patients were the basis for a recent study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine and conducted by Jeanette S. Brown, MD, a urogynecologist and director of the Women’s Continence Center at the University of California, San Francisco. For the study, Dr. Brown asked the following questions, requesting that subjects include their experiences during the previous three months:
1) Have you leaked urine, even a little bit?
2) Did it happen when you a coughed, sneezed, lifted or exercised; when you had the urge but couldn’t get to a toilet fast enough; or without either physical activity or urgency?
3) Did it happen most often during a physical activity, when you had an urgent need to go, or about equally in both situations?
Your providing answers to these questions will help your doctor decide whether you have “stress” incontinence, “urge” incontinence or a combination of the two, the study indicates. Treatments vary and could include medication, exercises or surgery.
“We use those three questions every day in our practice,” says Dr. Brown. Urinary incontinence is very common, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. About a third of all women over 40 suffer some loss of bladder control. If it’s interfering with your life, it’s time to seek treatment.