Diagnosing urinary incontinence can be complicated. This is because the cause can’t always be found. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also have a physical exam. This will involve checking the urinary and nervous systems to see how your bladder is working. Your doctor may also do a rectal or pelvic exam. The exams will look for certain causes such as blockages or nerve problems.
You will be asked how often you empty your bladder. You will be asked to keep a diary of your bladder habits. This will help you find out when and how leakage happens. You may be referred to a specialist for further testing and treatment.
Since there is more than one cause, each one must be checked fully. You may need one or more of these tests:
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Diagnosis of bladder control problems (urinary incontinence). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems/diagnosis. Updated June 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.
Urinary incontinence in adults. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/voiding-disorders/urinary-incontinence-in-adults. Updated July 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.
Urinary incontinence in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900624/Urinary-incontinence-in-men. Accessed December 4, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.
Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900573/Urinary-incontinence-in-women. Accessed November 14, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD Last Updated: 1/17/2019