What questions will the doctor ask about my overactive bladder?

Ja-Hong Kim, MD
To diagnose overactive bladder, your doctor will take a very detailed history. Your doctor will review your voiding patterns. It’s also important for your doctor to ask about previous surgery, such as vaginal reconstruction and other types of cancer surgery. Any history of prolapse -- when the bladder is out of position in the pelvis -- is important. Your doctor will also ask about alterations in bowel habits and sexual function. Your neurologic history is very important because many people have back pain or even back surgery that can affect the functioning of the bladder. History of stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and any history of numbness or weakness or balance problems can signal a problem with the nervous system.

Furthermore, knowing about your gynecological history, including history of pelvic cancer and radiation, is very important. Finally, your doctor will ask about the degree of bother. Many people get up twice a night, but it doesn’t bother them, and therefore they may not need any treatment for a problem that does not bother them very much. So this is an important aspect of urinary history. Your doctor will also review your medications.
After talking to you about your medical history and medications you take, your doctor may also discuss specifics about your symptoms. For instance, your doctor may ask the following:
  • How often during you urinate during the day? 
  • Do you wake up at night with an urge to urinate?
  • Do you leak urine and if so is it associated with an urge to urinate?
  • Do you leak urine when you cough, sneeze or with exercise?
  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Do you have any other urinary symptoms?
  • Have you been treated or this before?
  • Do you feel like you empty your bladder completely?
  • Do you wear a pad for protection?
  • Does leakage cause you to avoid social activities?
  • Do you have any bowel symptoms?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.