No Gynecologists in Your Area? How Telehealth Can Help You Treat Overactive Bladder
Half of all women experience some form of incontinence, including overactive bladder (OAB). OAB causes sudden urges to urinate throughout the day and night. Many women don’t talk to their doctors about it because they’re embarrassed. Or, they might live in an area without easy access to a doctor who can treat OAB. They go without treatment and miss out on events and activities because they’re worried about making it to a restroom. Fortunately, telehealth has made it easier than ever to talk with an OAB doctor–a gynecologist or urologist–about better bladder control.
An online gynecologist or urologist can perform many of the same services through a video chat or phone call that you would receive at an in-person appointment. They can ask you questions about your symptoms, make a diagnosis, and recommend treatment. Your treatment plan may include:
- Drinking more water
- Consuming less alcohol, coffee, and soda
- Cutting back on caffeine
- Adding more fiber
- Avoiding some fruits, including tomatoes
- Bladder training exercises
- Prescription medication
If your symptoms don’t improve sufficiently, your online gynecologist or urologist may recommend one of these additional treatments that require an in-person appointment, which they’ll help coordinate:
- Pessary device implanted in the vagina
- Botox injections
- Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)
- Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS)
If you live far away from your new doctor, though, you’ll be happy to know the majority of your appointments afterwards can be conducted over telehealth.
In addition to gaining access to a gynecologist or urologist regardless of where you live, you can’t beat the convenience of telehealth. You won’t have to fight traffic, waste time in the waiting room, or get in line to check out. The paperwork needed will be the same, but you can fill it out electronically. Your doctor can “write” prescriptions electronically, too.
First, call your insurance provider to make sure telehealth for overactive bladder is covered. In most cases, it is. Your provider will also be able to point you to a network of online gynecologists or urologists. Once you choose your doctor, you’ll make an online appointment, and they’ll provide either a phone number to call or a link to join a virtual video visit. Find a private spot in your house, write down your questions in advance, and have a list of medicines you take handy. It can also be helpful to have someone join you to put you at ease and fill in any blanks. It may feel foreign at first, but after a little while, you’ll get used to using telehealth for overactive bladder care and you’ll likely appreciate the benefits and convenience.