If you just can't bring yourself to tell your healthcare provider about your uncontrollable urges to urinate'or, good grief, the times you've actually wet your pants because you couldn't make it to a toilet in time'consider this: The more you reveal about your symptoms, the better able he or she will be to identify the therapy that could give you more pleasant, symptom-free days ahead. So if any of these common roadblocks are standing in your way, find out how to remove them and rediscover your freedom!
'My OAB is just a part of aging'something I'll have to accept.'
OAB may occur more often in older adults, but that doesn't mean you have to accept symptoms that damage your quality of life. Consider that leaving OAB untreated can cause people to become housebound and depressed. If you also get up frequently at night to go to the bathroom, it can leave you exhausted and without energy, which can limit your activities.
REMOVE IT BY: Saying you want your quality of life back.
If you have other medical conditions and/or are taking other medications, you may want to ask about OAB treatment options that do not involve pills'or make sure the pills you do take won't result in adverse interactions, worsen medical problems you already have or cause intolerable side effects.
'The only answer for my OAB is surgery (and I don't want that).'
Surgery is not the only answer. In fact, OAB symptoms can be successfully treated without your having to leave your healthcare provider's office. Just so you know, surgeries and procedures used to treat stress incontinence (leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, run or laugh) are not necessarily effective or recommended for urge incontinence (leaking urine following a sudden, strong urge to urinate).
REMOVE IT BY: Knowing the options.
Make sure you know exactly what kind of incontinence you have, so that when you're thinking about treatment options, you know what's viable. If you're not willing to have surgery, let your healthcare provider know. He or she can advise you about alternatives and less invasive procedures.
'There is no effective treatment for OAB'I'll have to wear diapers.'
'There are effective treatments," says urologist Leslie M. Rickey, MD. But you might not hear about them all at your first appointment. "I'll suggest a therapy and say, "Give this a try. If it doesn't work, we'll discuss plan B," " says Dr. Rickey. The American Urological Association (AUA) provides guidelines for physicians on treatments ranging from dietary modifications to medications, surgery and other procedures.
REMOVE IT BY: Being open to possibilities.
Finding the right treatment for you can take trial and error, so partner with your healthcare team'and be patient. Your doctor will want to determine an effective treatment plan for you, so make sure you stay involved with managing your condition. And if one therapy doesn't bring relief, don't despair. Keep working to find the strategy that will.
'I leak sometimes'but a medical condition? I don't think so!'
Leaks. Strong urges to urinate'a little too often and at the worst possible times. Have you simply gotten used to putting up with the inconvenience and embarrassment of your OAB symptoms? Fact is, OAB can stealthily rob you of your quality of life over the years, so you may end up unaware that you have a condition that can be helped by treatment. That's unfortunate, because by turning a "blind eye" to your symptoms you deprive yourself of relief that could make life a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.
REMOVE IT BY: Assessing yourself!
Fill out the self-assessment tool and share it with your healthcare team. Your answers can help your doctor understand your symptoms better.
'I can handle this on my own.'
Self-help measures can help, but they're not likely to put a stop to all your OAB symptoms. That's because they can't address the problem of defective nerves that lead to unwanted bladder contractions. What's more, you may end up wasting your time (if you don't know how to do pelvic floor exercises properly) or even worsening your symptoms by trying "too hard''say, by overly restricting fluids or by visiting the bathroom too frequently. A medical professional can advise you.
REMOVE IT BY: Asking the right questions.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the lifestyle changes that could help'ask for detailed instructions. Then ask, "Will these ease my symptoms? What else can I try, and how likely is that to help me?'
'My doctor will be shocked/disgusted'OAB is too embarrassing to discuss.'
First of all, you're not alone. Since millions of Americans have OAB, your healthcare provider has very likely heard it all before. Second, medical professionals who specialize in urinary tract and pelvic floor disorders have been trained to treat
the very issues that are bothering you.
REMOVE IT BY: Dropping a hint.
'If you feel shy discussing personal matters, ask your doctor: "Do you have any information about urinary leakage?" " suggests Elizabeth R. Mueller, MD, associate professor at Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine. "If your doctor doesn't tune into that clue, simply say: "I am having problems with urine leakage. Who should I talk to about this?" "
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