How to Talk to a Doctor about Your Overactive Bladder

doctor smiling

If you’re speaking to your doctor about overactive bladder (OAB), congratulations—you’re already past the hardest part. The National Association for Continence says that thousands of Americans mistakenly believe that overactive bladder is simply a part of aging and even if they have symptoms, they never talk to their doctor about it.

Reaching out for medical help certainly takes courage, but for many individuals, the anxiety doesn’t stop there. You may be wondering: How should you start the conversation? What symptoms are important? What questions should you ask?

You’re not alone – the doctor-patient conversation makes many people nervous. Preparing in advance might make it easier for you. Take a look at these two lists. They provide a brief overview of questions that might be included at your appointment. You can start with these basic lists and add in your own personal questions, too.

4 Things the Doctor May Ask You

1. How often do you go?

Individuals with OAB urinate more than eight times per day. Keeping a diary of your bladder function over the course of a few days may be helpful.

2. When do you go?

Overactive bladder often causes individuals to go frequently during the day and at least once per night. Be sure to note the time of urination on your bladder diary.

3. Do you have any other health issues?

Other medical conditions can contribute to OAB. Examples include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, prostate issues, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

4. What medications do you take?

Both prescription and over-the-counter medicine can cause bladder problems. Examples include alpha-blockers, hormone therapy, diuretics, sleeping pills, antidepressants, and painkillers.

4 Things to Ask Your Doctor

1. Who gets overactive bladder?

Surprisingly, the condition is extremely common. Nearly 33 million Americans have overactive bladder. Older males, women who have gone through menopause, women who have been pregnant or who have had vaginal births, or those with certain chronic medical conditions are most at risk of developing OAB.

2. What tests will I need?

The doctor may suggest several tests to rule out medical conditions and test the severity of your overactive bladder. You might need a urine analysis, a urine flow test, a bladder pressure exam, a neurological exam, a pelvic or prostate exam, or other specific tests in accordance with your medical history.

3. What treatments will help me?

There are several types of treatments available to help OAB patients. A combination of lifestyle modifications (losing weight, doing kegel exercises, scheduling bathroom breaks, and bladder training), over-the-counter medications (Oxytrol), prescription medications (anticholinergics or mirabegron), injections (Botox), and nerve stimulation may be used.

4. Do I need to see a specialist?

Most of the time, your primary care physician will be able to treat you.  But you certainly have the option to see a specialist if you have an unique or difficult-to-treat case of overactive bladder. A urologist or incontinence specialist may be able to offer additional help.

Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of your overactive bladder. Remember, you are doing the right thing! Speaking with your doctor is the first step to relieving your bladder troubles.

Enjoyed this article? Find more information at
What’s The Matter With My Bladder?
Overactive Bladder: What’s Going Wrong with your Urinary System?


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