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Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence can be a complicated diagnosis because the cause sometimes cannot be fully identified. Your doctor will first ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. He or she will examine your urinary system and also your nervous system, which controls your bladder function. You will be asked how often you empty your bladder and under what circumstances leakage occurs. A physical exam will look for any physical causes such as blockages or nerve problems. You will be asked to keep a diary of your bladder habits. At some point you will most likely be referred to a urologist or a gynecologist for further evaluation and treatment.
Tests may include:
Because more than one cause can exist, each one must be systematically considered. Your doctor may order the following tests:
Kasper D, Harrison T. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
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