Assessments for incontinence anxiety
It is recommended that individuals see their medical professional if they are having issues with incontinence and/or incontinence anxiety. Medical practitioners will be able to screen for physical abnormalities prior to making a diagnosis of anxiety related to incontinence. Examination may include collection of a thorough medical history, physical examination, and use of appropriate diagnostic and investigative assessments. Assessments may include the following:
Full medical examination: During a physical examination, your doctor will palpate (i.e., press and feel with their fingers, the abdomen for signs of abnormalities).
Blood test: Assess signs of overall health and infection that may be causing symptoms along with markers of inflammation.
Abdominal ultrasound: Identify abnormalities or irregularities in the abdomen that may be causing incontinence and/or incontinence anxiety symptoms.
Computerised Tomography:Help to identify if there are abnormalities that may be causing symptoms.
Neurological investigation: Help investigate whether neurological dysfunction is contributing to incontinence anxiety symptoms (e.g., impaired nerve signalling) through electromyography (measuring electrical activity of nerve muscles).
Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy: These investigations are designed to examine the gastrointestinal tract using a small flexible tube with a light and a camera at the end that is inserted into the backside. This test will help the physician identify any blockages, inflamed tissue, ulcers, bleeding or abnormal growths. The medical professional may also take samples looking for microscopic disease.
If you have any concerns regarding your symptoms relating to incontinence, please speak with your medical professional.
It is important that a medical examination is conducted as difficulties with incontinence can be a sign of physical illness. Several psychological conditions are associated with incontinence anxiety and are summarised HERE. A referral to a psychologist for psychological treatment may be recommended. In terms of current treatments for incontinence anxiety, there is a lack of studies evaluating the efficacy of psychological interventions. However, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is likely to be helpful in treating incontinence anxiety symptoms due to its efficacy in treating other anxiety-based conditions such as social anxiety disorder.