Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor may use a questionnaire to make a preliminary assessment of your symptoms. You may also be asked to keep a voiding diary for a few days, in which you record information, such as how frequently you urinate and how much and what kinds of fluid you consume.
For further testing, you may be referred to a specialist in urinary disorders (urologist) or urinary disorders in women (urologist or urogynecologist).
What you can do
To get the most from your visit to the doctor, prepare in advance:
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing. Include all of your symptoms, even if you don't think they're related.
- Make a list of any medications or vitamin supplements you take, regardless of how common you think they are. Many over-the-counter supplements can irritate the urinary tract. Also write down doses and how often you take the medication.
- Have a family member or close friend accompany you. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
- Take a notebook or notepad with you. Use it to write down important information during your visit.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.
For interstitial cystitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Will my symptoms eventually go away?
- What kind of tests might I need to undergo?
- Will changing my diet help with my symptoms?
- Could the medicines I take be aggravating my condition?
- Are there any medications that would help ease my symptoms?
- Will I need surgery?
Make sure that you understand what your doctor tells you. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions for clarification.
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions from your doctor. Potential questions your doctor might ask include:
- How often do you feel the urge to urinate with little or no warning?
- Do you still feel the urge to urinate immediately after you've urinated?
- Do you ever urinate less than two hours after you finished urinating?
- Do you wake up at night to urinate?
- Do you have pain or burning in your bladder?
- Do you feel pain in your abdomen or pelvis?
- Are you currently sexually active?
- How much do your symptoms bother you?
- Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/interstitialcystitis/. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Fitzgerald MP. Clinical features and diagnosis of painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Interstitial cystitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec17/ch228/ch228e.html. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Hanno PM, et al. Bladder pain syndrome. Medical Clinics of North America. 2011;95:55.
- Hanno PM. Painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis and related disorders. In: Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/113536197-2/0/1445/13.html?tocnode=54300277&fromURL=13.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-7216-0798-6..50012-1_840. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Engelhardt PF, et al. Long-term results of intravesical hyaluronan therapy in bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis. International Urogynecology Journal. In Press. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Homma Y, et al. Clinical guidelines for interstitial cystitis and hypersensitive bladder syndrome. International Journal of Urology. 2009;16:597.
- Fitzgerald MP. Treatment of painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.