Health A-Z

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Diagnosis

Your doctor will review your medical history.

Your doctor may ask you to keep a voiding diary for one to three days. You should record:

  • Times and amounts of urine leakage

  • Fluid intake

  • Possible triggers (ex. physical activity, coughing, laughing)

A neurological examination and a pelvic examination may be done. These will help to reveal the cause of your urinary incontinence.

You may also have a test to see whether you can empty your bladder completely. You will be asked to urinate to empty your bladder. Then, the amount of urine left in the bladder will be measured.

Your doctor should check for a urinary tract infection.

If your doctor suspects that nerve injury is causing your incontinence, you may need an imaging study. This may be a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of your brain or spinal cord.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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