Who to see
If you have continence problems there are professionals you can talk to and continence services that will give you help, advice, diagnosis and treatment
Ordinarily, your general practice or healthcare centre will be the first place to go to. You can talk to your family doctor or practice nurse or go to a well-man clinic or well-woman clinic if it's offered.
Women can talk to a gynaecologist about pelvic floor exercises and maintaining good continence control, especially during pregnancy and after childbirth.
If you need a home visit, your general practice can send a healthcare professional, such as your GP or a community nurse.
During this first visit your symptoms will be assessed.
If you are experiencing mild symptoms your GP or nurse practitioner may decide to advise and help you with appropriate diet, exercises and possibly medications.
Or they may refer you to a physiotherapist or continence care clinic where a specialist healthcare professional will assess your symptoms and help you with treatments. This could be a specialist physiotherapist or a continence nurse.
If you're pregnant or have a pregnancy-related problem, you might be referred to a gynaecologist or obstetrician.
If your problem stems from your gut itself, your doctor will send you to a gastroenterologist.
If you require surgery, you'll see a surgeon such as a colorectal surgeon.
Overview of specialties
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General practice (family doctor)
Nursing and continence care
- Burdett Institute of Gastrointestinal Nursing
- Royal College of Nurses
- Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.
Exercise and diet
Physiotherapist and specialist physiotherapist are specialists who can help with specific exercises for the pelvic muscles and with advice on daily exercise routines.
Dietitians and nutritionists can give specialist and general diet and nutrition advice and plans.
- The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Incontinence page
- British Dietetic Association
- British Nutrition Foundation
Older people's medicine
Geriatricians specialise in care for older people.
Pregnancy and childbirth, gynecology
Specialist healthcare professionals
- British Society of Gastroenterology
- Royal College of Surgeons/About Gastroenterology
- Association of Coloproctologists of Great Britain and Ireland
- Incontact: Ask an expert
- British Medical Association: Who's who in healthcare
- Continence Worldwide Network
- NHS UK
- NHS Direct: Find your local NHS service
- NHS Northern Ireland
- Scotland's Health on the Web
- NHS 24 Scotland
- Health of Wales Information Service
- NHS Direct Wales
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