Know for Sure…
Why proper diagnostic tests are important for people with incontinence
- When your doctor suggests a treatment for your incontinence, it’s important for them to be as sure as possible that the treatment is really right for you. This is especially true if they propose surgery, which carries risks of its own and can’t be reversed.
- Remember that incontinence can be caused by many different bladder problems – and the true cause often isn’t obvious, even to doctors. That is why specialists in the field of urology often recommend a diagnostic test called a urodynamic investigation before proceeding with treatment. This is done as an outpatient procedure and involves inserting very thin tubes into your bladder and back passage for a short time. Any discomfort is usually mild and temporary.
- The results of urodynamic tests help to reveal your underlying bladder problem, highlighting whether the proposed treatment is likely to help you or not. This can give both you and your doctor confidence that their recommendation is suitable for you. If it is, urodynamics can also help you to understand how much improvement to expect. All of this information empowers you to play your part alongside your doctor in making an informed decision about your future healthcare.
- In most fields of medicine, treatment would never be offered before diagnostic tests are done – whether they are X-rays, scans, blood tests or many other types of investigation. Relying purely on a doctor’s ‘best guess’ is usually unwise – and the same is true with incontinence.
- Although urodynamics might not be needed for everybody, experts agree that it is useful for the majority of people who experience incontinence. So, if your doctor doesn’t offer you urodynamics, you have a right to request it. And if they say you don’t need it, you have the right to ask them why.