STEP 6:  WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

Sometimes, even the most persistent plan of action may not alleviate the symptoms of incontinence.  If after making behavioral modifications based on your triggers, completing 6-8 weeks of exercises, and retraining your bladder or bowel you are still struggling with managing your incontinence, it may be time to seek professional help through a physician or PT.  Be sure to bring your completed bladder or bowel diary, your plan of action, and any other notes you may have about your self-management with you to your appointment.  Your efforts have not been in vain and all your records will help paint a more accurate and personalized portrait of your condition to your doctor, which will help him create a customized treatment plan for you moving forward.  Your doctor may recommend further evaluation or sessions with a physical therapist, and, in some cases, may even discuss surgical options. 

USING A CARE PATHWAY

 Click the image above to download the Care Pathway, then bring it with you to your doctor and review your options together.

Click the image above to download the Care Pathway, then bring it with you to your doctor and review your options together.

Many patients find a Care Pathway very useful in determining an appropriate treatment plan. A Care Pathway can serve as a road map to managing your symptoms, and it can take some of the guesswork out of determining your next step if your current treatment isn't working for you. Click on the image of the Care Pathway for Overactive Bladder at right for a better sense of the route that treatment typically takes. You can even download this tool and take it to your doctor to discuss your options together.

Speaking of doctors, if you don't already have a healthcare practitioner to help you with your incontinence symptoms, visit the NAFC Specialist Locator to find one in your area.

Finally, we've also produced a handy printed guide to all of these steps, and you can download it for free by clicking here: A Step-By-Step Guide to Treating Your Incontinence.