Incontinence is treatable
Those “oops” moments when you laugh or sneeze are getting more frequent, but you’re still reluctant to see a doctor. You’re not alone. People suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) wait an average of 6 years before consulting a physician. SUI can be embarrassing, but if left untreated, symptoms will worsen. If you’re ready to get incontinence help, there’s good news: bladder leaks are treatable and can be eliminated in some cases.
Although awkward to discuss, SUI is the most common type of incontinence. About 1 in 3 women suffer from SUI at some point in their lives. One of the main contributing factors is a weak pelvic floor. When the pelvic floor muscles are damaged, weakened, or stretched, they lose the ability to contract properly, resulting in leaks when there’s pressure on the bladder. A consult with a healthcare professional can help pinpoint the problem and offer solutions. Here are some tips for finding the right doctor and what to ask during your appointment.
Which doctor should I see for incontinence help?
Although dealing with SUI is frustrating, you have options regarding which type of doctor you consult. Multiple healthcare professionals and specialists are able to diagnose SUI and offer incontinence help.
Family Practice. A family practitioner or primary care physician is someone who offers his or her services to an entire family, including young children, adults, and the elderly. Because family practice doctors care for a wide range of patients, they’re also able to diagnose and possibly treat a range of medical conditions, including incontinence. If a condition is not in the doctor’s range, they will refer you to a specialist who can determine the best help for incontinence. Don’t miss the chance to discuss your symptoms at your annual physical, or you can schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
Urogynecologists: These doctors, also known as urogyns, are specially trained in the female urinary system. They are dual certified in urology and gynecology and can diagnose and treat women with pelvic floor disorders, including SUI. The incontinence treatment solution presented by urogyns may include surgery. If you haven’t previously seen a urogynecologist, you may first want to ask your primary care physician or OB/GYN for a recommendation.
Urologists: A urologist specializes in the conditions of the urinary tract for both men and women. They also receive specialized training to perform surgery for incontinence. The urinary tract consists of the bladder and kidneys, as well as your ureters, urethra, and adrenal glands. Urologists are knowledgeable about incontinence and bladder health but may refer female patients to a urogynecologist.
Gynecologists: Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in women’s pelvic health and female reproductive health. Obstetricians deliver babies. OB/GYNs do both. If you’re a mother, you likely saw an OB/GYN throughout your pregnancy. Because childbirth can often lead to incontinence, your OB/GYN will be very familiar with SUI.
In addition to the professionals listed above, nurses and caretakers of individuals with pelvic floor disorders also can be valuable resources.
What to ask at your appointment
As with any doctor’s appointment, there are two things that will ensure you get the most accurate diagnosis and treatment: preparation and honesty. Here are some ideas to maximize your appointment.
- Diary. You know yourself and your habits better than anyone, so it’s a good idea to keep a diary over a few days. List your diet, frequency of bathroom visits (day and night), and any leaks.
- Medical history. Write down your medications and dosages, plus any recent medical procedures or health issues.
- Ask questions. Are there foods or supplements that can help with SUI? After explaining how you are managing leaks, are there other options that could help? How can you protect your clothes, mattress, furniture?
- Learn about all the treatment options. Ask your doctor if there are treatment options you can do at home. How effective is each treatment? Which ones have the best results according to your doctor’s experience? Which treatments have been cleared by the FDA?
Don’t wait to get incontinence help
When experiencing symptoms, the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health is to seek help for incontinence as soon as possible. Toning and strengthening the pelvic floor is often key to controlling bladder leakage. And the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to regain control of bladder leaks. Your physician will work with you to determine the best course of action and treatment option for your body.
One of the most effective devices for treating SUI is an easy-to-use, nonvaginal device that uses gentle electrical stimulation to tighten your pelvic floor muscles. FDA-cleared ELITONE is worn externally like a pad and can be used in the comfort of your home. Learn more by downloading information about ELITONE® therapy for incontinence help in women.
ELITONE stress incontinence treatment:
- 9 out of 10 Gynecologists said they would prescribe ELITONE.
- 100% external – nothing goes inside you.
- You’ll notice fewer leaks in as few as 6 weeks!