Elderly woman and healthcare provider smiling

Behind Closed Doors, Things You Should Tell Your Doctor

As a patient, your doctor should always treat you with respect. Your questions should always be judged as important, even if they are awkward and challenging at times to ask. And, the answers to your questions, should be thorough, easily understood and thoughtful. That is what we as patients need and want.

The goal when you visit your doctor should be to exchange what you both know and come to a decision together. It’s important to advocate for yourself during your doctor’s appointment to ensure you get useful information that will help you deal with your specific health situation.

But, being a good patient requires a good knowledge about your health concern. It enables you to become an active participant in your healthcare. The goal when you visit your doctor should be to exchange what you both know and come to a decision together. It’s important to advocate for yourself during your doctor’s appointment to ensure you get useful information that will help you deal with your specific health situation.

Many women gain knowledge when they google their symptoms, such as overactive bladder (OAB) issues. However, to use the internet effectively to get medical information, it’s important to know where this information is sourced from. And, please pay attention to the dubious quality of misinformation out there.

Let’s now embark on some “Potty Talk.” Have you ever accidently wet your pants? Well, to be honest, some women have. In fact, OAB is far more common in women than in men. But, while it affects millions of American women, many women fail to bring up the subject with their doctor. This can lead to a delay in diagnosis, management and treatment. It’s important to know that OAB is often associated with aging, but it isn’t a normal condition of age!

If you’re having trouble with OAB, don’t let embarrassment get the better of you. It may cause some life-limiting challenges, so it’s important not to keep it as a hidden problem.

Don’t wait, start talking. OAB is no longer an unmentionable topic. You are not alone and it’s not because you are entering your golden years that this happens. See your doctor.

Once you make the appointment with the doctor, you should not wait until he/she brings the topic up. You should bring it up yourself, and don’t wait until the last minute to discuss it. Allow yourself enough time to ask questions and get your questions answered. Don’t forget to bring a pen and paper to take notes.
 
If you:

  • Are experiencing symptoms that are stopping you from enjoying activities outside of your home
  • Have a strong urge to urinate a “gotta go” feeling that makes you feel like you have to go to the bathroom right away or you will leak
  • If you are afraid to be too far away from a restroom
  • Leak urine when sneezing, laughing or doing physical activities
  • Urinate frequently more than 8 times in 24 hours
  • Wake up at night from sleep to go to the bathroom more than once a night
  • Are affected by symptoms in your everyday life

Then you should prepare to discuss OAB with your doctor.

Getting the Most Out of Your Visit to the Doctor… Recommended Questions You Should Ask About OAB

  • What is overactive bladder? Is it a common problem? What causes it?
  • Are there medical conditions that cause or mimic OAB?
  • How do I know if I have it?
  • How is OAB diagnosed?
  • Is OAB permanent or can it resolve on its own?
  • What are some management and treatment options and the benefits and risks of each choice?
  • Will I need a treatment for the rest of my life?
  • What are the risks of not treating OAB?
  • What’s my next step? 

Make sure your doctor takes the time to talk with you and explain his or her suggested course of action clearly. Also ask your doctor when you should make a second appointment. 
  
Your health is your responsibility. As a patient you have more power than you think. To be healthy you have to be in charge and take care of your health which means if you have a health problem, approach it like a pro. Be a good communicator with your doctor and be specific about your needs. Make the time and effort to build a strong partnership with your doctor as it is an important step in protecting your health. 
 
This article was provided for use by Karen Giblin, from the Red Hot Mamas and is legally licensed by Urovant. For more information, visit https://redhotmamas.org/.   

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