Talking to Your HCP
How to have the important talk with your healthcare professional about leaks and your protective hygiene options.
It's Important to Get Help
Incontinence is not a disease. But it can be a sign or symptom of something else: an underlying condition, a side effect of a medication, or a result of a diet or lifestyle change. Even if your bladder or bowel leaks are mild, you should consult your healthcare provider so they can help pinpoint the type and cause of your leaks and create a treatment plan that's right for you. Leaks won't get better on their own, and if ignored, they might even get worse. But the good news is, you can work with your healthcare provider to manage and treat the condition and improve your quality of life.
How to Talk About Incontinence
If you’re nervous to talk to your doctor, that’s understandable. Most people aren’t used to talking to their doctors about bladder or bowel health. But your doctor is certainly used to hearing about it – 25 million people in the U.S. experience some sort of incontinence each year. Your doctor or healthcare provider has heard it all (probably hundreds of times), and will be glad to help you. That’s what they went to school for, after all.
Honesty Is Your Best Policy
Some people find it easier to talk if they've written down their thoughts ahead of time. Don't be afraid to bring a notepad (or cell phone) with you. More than anything, it's important to be honest. Explain your symptoms in detail and share your true feelings about treatment options. This will help your healthcare provider fully understand the type and cause of your leaks, and to develop a treatment plan for you that will improve your health and quality of life. Now isn't that worth a little blushing?
What to Discuss at Your Visit
Your healthcare provider will help you determine what type of leaks you're experiencing, (Stress, Urge, Mixed, Reflex, Overflow, Function, Bowel), and assess how your current medications might be affecting your condition, especially if you've had a change in medication. They'll also talk with you about a range of treatment options. You can learn more about the types of leaks here.
Small additions to your routine can make leak management much easier. First, try scheduling bathroom visits to regularly empty your bladder – even when you don't "have" to go. Next, you can try pelvic floor exercises, or keeping a Bathroom Diary to track your bathroom habits and leakage episodes. If you've already started this diary, be sure to bring it with you to your appointment. Your healthcare provider will be able to review it and have a clearer picture of your symptoms. Check out this helpful guide to keeping a bathroom diary to learn more about tracking your leaks and your bathroom schedule.
What you put into your body can affect what comes out of it. Your healthcare provider can help you review your diet and make modifications to improve your bladder health. Things like your morning coffee or afternoon soda could be placing a lot of unnecessary stress on your bladder, while consuming high-fiber foods is extremely important, as it contributes to improved bowel habits. Read more in this guide about ways to make helpful changes in your diet, and you'll be prepared to discuss it at your appointment.
Medications can have a wide range of effects on your body, so your healthcare provider will want to know what medications you're currently taking and whether you've changed any of them recently. You can record this information in your Bathroom Diary as well. Learn more by reading this guide about specific medications and their effects on bladder control.
Surgery is the most aggressive option for treating incontinence, but is by no means necessary to experience improved bladder or bowel control. If you'd like to pursue surgery, carefully consider the benefits and risks with your healthcare provider when you visit. They're the experts and you'll get the right advice about the most effective plan of action.
Just like deodorant or toothpaste, Prevail® protective hygiene can be used on a daily basis to keep you feeling fresh, clean, and comfortable around-the-clock. These absorbent undergarments can be worn alone or in tandem with other treatment methods to manage your incontinence. Prevail is the #1 ranked protective hygiene brand in home healthcare.* We're here to help you stay comfortable, confident, and active, knowing your leaks are taken care of every day.
*in market share by both units sold and dollars spent, based on data from GHX covering the last 4 quarters reported (Q1'17-Q4'17), wherein protective hygiene is defined as absorbent products for the management of incontinence in adults.
Need help finding the right product? Check out our Product Finder tool to quickly find the right fit.
Your Partner in Health
Even if it seems difficult, be honest and open with your healthcare provider. Together, you can determine which type of incontinence you have and the best treatment options for you. When you take control of incontinence, leaks can't stop you from living life to the fullest.
If you're wary of discussing leaks with your healthcare provider, start by anonymously chatting with a Prevail® eNurse™ or give them a call at 866-573-3776. These professional nurses can help you better understand your symptoms and give you the confidence you need to set up an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Ask a Prevail eNurse™
Have a question? Our eNurse team is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether you're experiencing leaks for the first time, caring for a loved one with incontinence, or a veteran healthcare professional with questions, our team of licensed nurses have heard it all, and are ready to lend their confidential, respectful, and personalized expertise at any time.
Contact us anytime at 866-573-3776 or chat with us live Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.