What kinds of doctors and health professionals treat incontinence?

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There are several kinds of health professionals that work with people with incontinence.
  • Urogynecologists. These are gynecologists who have taken additional training in problems affecting a woman's bladder, pelvic floor and pelvic organs -- including urinary and fecal incontinence (unintended passage of stool) or prolapse (a condition in which a part of the body drops from its normal position). Check your state's listing on the American Urogynecologic Society Web site. The specialty is also known as Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.
  • Urologists. These medical doctors treat the urinary systems of both men and women as well as the male reproductive organs. The American Urological Association Web site has a physician locator.
  • Gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons. These doctors have training in treating conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including fecal incontinence (unintended passage of stool). If you have diarrhea or digestive symptoms in addition to incontinence, start with a gastroenterologist, particularly if there is no known childbirth injury or other trauma to the. Several organizations offer physician locators.
  • A colorectal surgeon should be prepared to offer you a range of surgical and nonsurgical options for treatment. The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons has a directory of members.
  • Biofeedback professionals. Health professionals who practice this technique include nurses and physical or occupational therapists. Look for someone with experience in bowel or bladder training. Start by asking the physician treating your incontinence, or contact the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America.
  • Pelvic floor physical therapists. If you need help learning to strengthen and control your pelvic floor muscles and to use other behavioral strategies to maintain continence, a growing number of physical therapists specialize in this area and have undergone advanced training to earn a Certificate of Achievement of Pelvic Physical Therapy. Ask your physician for a referral, or contact the American Physical Therapy Association.
  • Nurse specialists. If you are having skin problems related to incontinence or if you have not been able to find acceptable ways to manage your incontinence, a specialist in continence or ostomy (opening on the skin) nursing can offer practical advice. Contact the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society.

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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.