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NHS Choices Condition

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If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, you should see your GP. Do not be embarrassed about talking to your GP about your incontinence as they are there to help you.

In order to provide treatment for your condition, your GP will need to decide which type of urinary incontinence you have. To establish this, they will ask you several questions about your symptoms and medical history.

Your GP may also suggest that you keep a diary of your bladder habits for at least three days, so that you can give them as much information as possible. You should include details such as how much fluid you drink, how often you need to pass urine, and the amount of urine that you pass.

You may also need to have some tests so that your GP can confirm or rule out certain external factors that may be causing your incontinence. Some of these tests are outlined below.

Physical examination

Your GP may examine you to assess the physical health of your urinary system.

If you are female, your GP may examine your vagina to check the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. If you are male, your GP may examine your rectum (back passage) to check whether or not your prostate gland is enlarged.

'Dipstick' test

If your GP thinks that your incontinence may be caused by an infection, a sample of your urine may be tested for bacteria. A small, chemically treated stick will be dipped into your urine sample and it will change colour if there are bacteria present. The dipstick test can also check the blood and protein levels in your urine.

Bladder ultrasound scan

If you are unable to fully empty your bladder, you may have a bladder ultrasound scan. An ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body, and can show how much urine is left in your bladder after you go to the toilet.

During a bladder ultrasound, a thin, flexible tube (an endoscope) is inserted into your urethra and gently fed through to your bladder. You will be awake when this happens, but you may be given a sedative and a painkiller to help relax you.

Residual urine test

A residual urine test may be used if a bladder ultrasound scan fails to show the amount of urine that is left in your bladder after you go to the toilet.

As with a bladder ultrasound scan, a residual urine test involves a thin, flexible, hollow tube (a catheter) being fed through your urethra to your bladder. Any urine that is left in your bladder will be drained out through the catheter, so that the amount can be measured.

view information about Incontinence urinary on www.nhs.co.uk »

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