Talking to Your Health Care Team About Bladder Control

Why is it so hard to talk about bladder control?

You may feel embarrassed to talk about such a personal thing. Or, like many women, you may feel ashamed about loss of bladder control.

But when you learn it's a medical problem, you know it's not your fault. Millions of other women have the same problem.

Your health care team can help you. Nearly everyone with a bladder control problem can be helped.

You need to ask the doctor questions. And the doctor needs to ask you questions. By talking, you will learn

  • why you have a bladder control problem

  • which treatment is right for you

How can you tell your doctor about a bladder control problem?

Even if you feel shy, it is up to you to take the first step. Some doctors don't treat bladder control problems, so they don't ask about it. Others might expect you to bring up the subject.

Because bladder control problems are common, your doctor has probably heard many stories like yours. If your doctor does not treat bladder problems, ask for help finding someone who can help you.

The good news is that most women with bladder control problems can get better, with the help of their health care team.

What questions should you ask?

These questions can help your health care team find the cause of your bladder control problem.

  • Could my usual food or drinks cause bladder problems?

  • Could my medicines (prescription or over-the-counter drugs) cause bladder problems?

  • Could other medical conditions cause loss of bladder control?

  • What are the treatments to regain bladder control? Which one is best for me?

  • Can you help me, or can you tell me whom I should see instead?

  • What can I do about the odor and rash caused by urine?

What information should you bring to your doctor?

Before going to see your doctor, print out the following form and answer the questions. Check off the statements that apply to you. Fill in dates and other information. Show this form to your doctor at your next visit.

What Your Doctor Needs to Know

This is an image of a check box. I take these prescription medicines:
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

This is an image of a check box. I take these over-the-counter drugs (such as Tylenol, aspirin, or Maalox):
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

If you take more medicines, please list them on a separate paper.

This is an image of a check box. I started having bladder trouble

This is an image of a check box. recently
This is an image of a check box. 1 to 2 years ago
This is an image of a check box. _____ years ago
This is an image of a check box. Number of babies I have had:_____________________
Dates:_________________________________________

This is an image of a check box. My periods have stopped (menopause).
Date:__________________________________________

This is an image of a check box. I recently had an operation.
Date:__________________________________________
Type of operation:________________________________

This is an image of a check box. I recently hurt myself or have been sick.
Date: _________________________________________
Type of injury or illness:____________________________

This is an image of a check box. I recently had a bladder (urinary tract) infection.
Date: _________________________________________

This is an image of a check box. I am often constipated.

This is an image of a check box. I have pain or a burning feeling when I go to the toilet.

This is an image of a check box. I often have a really strong urge to go to the toilet right away.

This is an image of a check box. Sometimes my bladder feels full, even after I go to the toilet.

This is an image of a check box. I go to the toilet often, but very little urine comes out.

This is an image of a check box. I don't go out with friends or family because I worry about leaking urine.

This is an image of a check box. The first thing I do at new places is check the bathroom location.

This is an image of a check box. I worry about being put in a nursing home because of bladder control problems.

I have (or had) these medical problems:

This is an image of a check box. cancer This is an image of a check box. constipation
This is an image of a check box. crippling arthritis This is an image of a check box. depression
This is an image of a check box. diabetes This is an image of a check box. diverticulitis
This is an image of a check box. interstitial cystitis This is an image of a check box. multiple sclerosis
This is an image of a check box. spinal cord injury This is an image of a check box. stroke
This is an image of a check box. urinary infection

This is an image of a check box. I smoke cigarettes.

Does treatment work?

Treatment usually works. Many women greatly improve their bladder control. Regaining control helps women enjoy healthier and happier lives.

Points to Remember

  • Bladder control problems can be caused by many medical conditions.

  • Most bladder control problems can be improved.

  • Your health care team can help you improve your bladder control.

  • Getting over your embarrassment is important. You need to get treatment.
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