Finding the Right Professional
by Karen Laforet RN, MClSc-WH, CNHC(c), VA-BC, CVAA(C)
Urinary or fecal Incontinence is not a disease. It is a symptom of something else going on in the body. While the stigma or embarrassment may feeling overwhelming, it is vital to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional specializing in this area. Incontinence can treated, managed and in many cases cured successfully.
The most important thing you need to do is find healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable AND interested in incontinence. It may take time and effort to find the right person(s) for you, however doing so will help you take charge of your health. It may surprise you to know there are a number of healthcare professionals specializing in this field.
Nurse Continence Advisor (NCA)
Registered Nurses who specialize in wound care, ostomy management and incontinence are referred to as NSWOC. A Registered Nurse who has received post-graduate training and certification in incontinence care is classified as a Nurse Continence Advisor (NCA).
Why seek out a NSWOC or NCA?
- They assess, diagnose and treat people who have problems with urinary and/or fecal incontinence
- Will work closely with you, your family and other members of the health care team to help you meet your goals and improve your quality of life
- Have a strong network of healthcare professionals specializing in incontinence (more about them later on) to support your needs
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist (PT)
Did you know, there are PTs specializing in pelvic floor treatment & women’s health. Specialized Physiotherapy is becoming more established in the literature as a first-line of defense against incontinence and pelvic pain. Physiotherapist specializing in pelvic floor:
- Hold post-graduate qualifications in pelvic floor assessment & muscle training
- Are recognized as a primary line of defense against incontinence & pelvic floor pain—for men and women
- A urogynecologist is a fully trained gynecologist
- Have advanced specialist training in treating women’s pelvic floor problems such as vaginal prolapse, bladder dysfunction and urinary incontinence
In addition to the specialists noted above, there are other healthcare professionals that may help you. See the list below as well as a more detailed description of each on our blog titled ‘Who Has the Help You Need?’.
- Family Doctor (General Practitioner). If they don’t have an interest or experience with incontinence, ask for a referral
- Urologist: specialized in caring for men's sexual and reproductive health and treating women and men’s kidney, bladder and urinary problems
- Gynecologist: specializing female reproductive health (not necessarily with incontinence focus)
- Gastroenterologist: specialists in gut and bowel diseases & helpful if there is bowel dysfunction and incontinence.
- Geriatrician: “care of the elderly specialists” including urinary or fecal incontinence.
- Dietitians will help you develop a food plan based on accurate nutritional information
- Pharmacist are the best health professional to offer advice on medications that may cause or aggravate incontinence.