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Guidelines to Help Family Doctors Evaluate Incontinence in Women

November 13, 2012 1 min read

Of the 25 million American adults who experience urinary incontinence, 75-80 percent of those are women. Despite this high prevalence, the topic of bladder leakage is still hush-hush at the doctor’s office because women are often embarrassed to discuss the issue with their doctors.

However, if left unreported, urinary leakage can be a sign of a more serious problem. This is why women and their physicians are encouraged to maintain a dialogue about bladder control, according to an article published by doctors from the University of Michigan.

“We want to emphasize to women that this is not something they have to live with, that they should tell their primary care physicians about their symptoms,” Dr. Abigail Lowther, lead author, said. “We also want to remind physicians that simple interventions can go a long way towards improving this problem for patients.”

Published in the Journal of Family Practice in September, the article suggests three ways a physician can address this often ignored topic:

  1. Collect a urine sample.
  2. Ask the patient to keep a voiding diary for three days to track their diet intake and how often she urinates.
  3. Schedule a follow-up visit.

During the second visit, doctors will have a better understanding of how to treat the patient’s type of urinary incontinence. The authors of the article also recommend that doctors suggest Kegel exercises and how to perform them properly as a treatment for stress incontinence (leaking due to coughing, laughing, or sneezing).


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