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. This includes an evaluation of the urinary and nervous systems, which controls 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:
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Because more than one cause can exist, each one must be systematically considered. Your doctor may order the following tests:
Urinary incontinence. National Association for Continence website. Available at: https://www.nafc.org/urinary-incontinence. Accessed May 19, 2017.
Urinary incontinence in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900624/Urinary-incontinence-in-men. Updated December 13, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2017.
Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900573/Urinary-incontinence-in-women. Updated May 15, 2017. Accessed May 19, 2017
Last reviewed May 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD Last Updated: 12/20/2014