This month we have been discussing OAB—a condition associated with urinary urgency, frequency, nighttime voids, and sometimes uncontrolled leakage of urine. In my prior video, we reviewed several interventions that you can do before visiting a specialist. But what if they did not work or did not work enough?

The next step is to see a specialist like a urogynecologist—another name for this specialty is female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Depending on your insurance, you can make your appointment directly with the specialist or ask your primary care doctor to refer you to one.

How to prepare for the appointment:

Complete any intake forms that your doctor’s office gives you.

Write down all the medications you take and the doses.

Make sure you remember all the surgeries you’ve had and any health conditions.

Bring with you your completed bladder diary. If you do not know how to complete one yet, make sure to learn about it from my prior videos.

What to expect from your visit to the doctor’s office:

You will be asked to undress from the waist down so your doctor can assess the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and any changes in your pelvic anatomy that may contribute to your urinary symptoms.

You might be asked to hold your pee so your doctor can perform some tests to distinguish OAB from other types of leakage. You might be asked to cough or bare down. Do not worry if during those tests, urine comes out. It’s actually very helpful for making an assessment.

After the exam, you will be asked to empty your bladder and leave a urine sample. Your bladder will be checked to assess how well you are able to empty it.

Next, your urine will be checked for infection and presence of blood. The results can take a couple of days to come back, so be patient.

Do not feel discouraged if you’re asked to repeat your symptoms again and again. We ask women questions that might sound exactly the same, but they are actually different. Your answers will help to make a correct diagnosis. The correct diagnosis is key to the right treatment.

Some other tests that your doctor might choose to perform are a cystoscopy and urodynamics.

A cystoscopy is a test where your bladder is evaluated using a small camera. It helps to make sure that the bladder is normal and has no tumors. This procedure is not routine—it’s done only if your urine test shows blood, or your doctor feels that your symptoms warrant a cystoscopy. This procedure takes about two minutes and is usually done in the office and is well tolerated.

Urodynamics tests assess the function of your bladder. It involves putting catheters in your bladder, rectum, and muscle monitors on the pelvic floor muscles. During the test, your bladder is filled with fluid and its activity is monitored. Usually, this test is performed in more complex cases where establishing a correct diagnosis is not possible based on the symptoms alone or a surgical treatment is planned.

Make sure that during your appointment you speak freely and ask questions.

If you want to improve your quality of life, learn about different treatment options for OAB in my next post!

#bladder #bladderhealth #bladderleakage #oab #pelvicfloor

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