Incontinence Treatment and Voiding Diaries

  • Going to your doctor for a visit, whether it is a first visit or a follow-up can be rather stressful. It’s often difficult to know how to make the most of your visit and make sure your issues are addressed, whether you are seeking incontinence treatment or something else. While this is true for all specialties of medicine, I am going to address the information you should bring with you to your Urologist’s office regarding incontinence to make the most of your visit.

    All doctors want to know basic information about you. It is the most helpful to keep a running list of this information on your computer and update it as needed. When you go to your doctors, just print it out and bring it with you. The important information is as follows:
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    1. List of medications and doses
    2. Allergies
    3. Medical Problems- especially those for which you are being treated and take medications
    4. Any surgery you have had in your lifetime
    5. Major illnesses of close family members

    In the days or weeks leading up to your appointment, you may want to keep a piece of paper with you and jot down questions that you may have. Everyone always forgets to ask all of his or her questions, but if you keep this list, you have a better chance of having your concerns and issues addressed.

    Before arriving at the office, there are some pieces of information that will be helpful to your doctor to know. It never ceases to amaze me that a patient will come in complaining about incontinence, and yet he or she has very little knowledge of their own symptoms. Your doctor will want to know in what context do you leak urine. Is it with activity? How vigorous an activity? Every time or just sometimes? How about when you cough, sneeze or laugh?

    Is it unpredictable leaking of urine, like if you are just sitting there and you feel the sudden urge to go. Do you find yourself running to the bathroom? How frequently? Do you make it in time? How many times a day do you go? How many times at night are you getting up to go?

    Do you wear pads? How wet are they? How often do you change them? What type of pads? It may be helpful to bring in a dry pad and then twenty-four hours worth of your wet pads, that you have stored in a plastic bag, so your doctor can weigh them and track your progress.

    A voiding diary is also very helpful for your doctor to review. A voiding diary consists of tracking how often you void and how much as well as how often and how much and what you are drinking. You should also track when you are incontinent and in what context. It can give your doctor some real insight into your life and incontinence issues. Just track the above on a piece of paper for 3 days or so before your appointment. Most urologists have a preprinted log in their office, and if you call, you likely can have one sent to you. There are also several Web sites where you can download a voiding diary grid. Using a search engine, type in “voiding diary” in quotes and many different site will come up.

  • By coming armed to your doctors knowing this information about yourself will help make your visit more worthwhile and helps your doctor collect necessary information quickly, leaving more time for your doctor to counsel you on your condition and answer other questions that may arise.
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Published On: January 25, 2007