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Diagnosing Incontinence

If you’re limiting your activities because of incontinence , you’ll want to see a health care provider such as a primary care physician, urologist (urinary tract doctor) or gynecologist (women’s reproductive health doctor). Diagnosing incontinence depends on the type you have and the underlying condition that may be causing it.

Your provider may take into consideration:

  • Medical history: Including the symptoms you have, when they started, how often you experience them and anything that makes them better or worse.
  • Physical exam: Checking the pelvic area, your neurologic (nervous system) function and signs of underlying conditions.
  • Urinalysis: Testing a sample of your urine for signs of infection, blood or other abnormalities.
  • Your bladder diary: Where you track how often you urinate, incontinence episodes, fluid intake and other factors.
  • Voiding assessment: Measures the amount of urine in your bladder before and after urinating to see if your bladder is emptying completely.
  • Stress test: To see if you leak urine when you cough or strain .
  • Pad test: A test where you wear an absorbent pad for a period of time to see how much urine you leak.
  • Cystoscopy: A tiny camera attached to a thin tube that looks inside your urinary tract.
  • Other diagnostic tests: Such as uroflowmetry (measures your urine flow rate), urodynamic testing (test to see how well your bladder and urethra are working) or imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI can help narrow down the underlying cause.

With an accurate diagnosis, your doctor can figure out what’s causing your incontinence and create a treatment plan for you.

Learn about the treatment options available for incontinence.