When you see a doctor or nurse for the first time, they'll ask you lots of questions about your problem - how often it happens, when it happens, and how long it's been happening. They'll also ask how much you drink or what type of foods you eat.

Tips for having a successful appointment

  1. Talk to your parents or carer about what you'd like to find out from the appointment and what you'll need to tell the doctor or nurse about your problem.

  2. Make sure you understand what the doctor or nurse is saying. If they use medical words, ask them to explain them, or get your parents to ask if you prefer.

  3. Try to see the same doctor or nurse each time - this can help you get to know them so you feel more comfortable talking to them.

  4. Ask for a different doctor or nurse if you don’t like the one you've seen.

  5. Be open and honest. The doctor or nurse is there to help you. They won't judge you and won't make you do anything you don’t want to do. 

What do other teenagers say about their appointments?

Here are some things teenagers have told us about their appointments - some were positive experiences and some weren't.  If you have a bad experience, follow the tips above to make it better next time.

Positive experiences

Ben: “Once I got to know my doctors and my nurses I felt more comfortable talking to them.” 

Amy: “The language we used and everything made it easier. It made it kind of child friendly I suppose, which is what they should be doing.”

Patrick: “They are easy to talk to, you sort of need to tell them, otherwise you won’t find anything to stop it really.”

Negative experiences

Tom: “I don’t know what I get nervous about. I just feel awkward. When I first went to clinic, I was talking to that person for the very first time, I didn’t know anything about them. All I knew was their name and that they were going to give me medical advice.”

Patrick: “It’s always a new person and they always say a different thing to what the other doctors said.”

Amelia: “I didn’t really like going, especially in the early phase, because you’re talking about very personal things with a stranger. But yes, I kind of got used to it.” 

Bad appointment cartoon

Why should I stick to my treatment?

At the end of the appointment the doctor or nurse will tell you how to keep your bowels and bladder healthy and might suggest a particular type of treatment. Depending on your problem, this could be medication, a bedwetting alarm, changing your eating and drinking habits, pelvic floor exercises, or a combination of things.

Sticking to your treatment is one of the best things you can do to help your problem.

Remember:

  • The treatment your doctor or nurse gives you is meant to help you

  • To have the best chance of treatment working, you need to follow the instructions they give you

  • Missing your medication means it won't work properly

  • If you’re finding it hard to stick to your treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse about it. They'll work with you to find the best option for you

  • Because there isn't one treatment that works for everyone, you might have to try several things before you find one that makes a difference.

Alice and Patrick found it hard to stick to their treatment. Listen to their experiences below: 

There was a period in year 9 when I didn’t take my medication very well and my problem got worse. I wanted to be independent and do what I wanted. Then in year 10 I thought ‘Actually no, I’m kind of gross now, I’d better take my meds again’. It was hard to make me take my meds when I was a teenager and I was really difficult to deal with. It was a battle between me and my parents. Looking back I realise it was ridiculous, it made no sense. Why would it be there if I wasn’t going to use it? (Alice)

Listen to the full story:

I used a bedwetting alarm for a while and that was the thing that made the biggest difference. It went from being every single night to not being every single night. I was told when I started using it that it would take a while to see any results, maybe three or four months, but to persevere with it. I did, and it seemed to make a difference. It was that kind of perseverance just to keep going with it. (Patrick)

Listen to the full story:

Here are some more clips from teenagers describing the different treatments they tried, some of which worked well and others which didn't. The important thing is to keep working with your doctor or nurse to find the right treatment for you.

Mia: "My doctor gave me pelvic floor muscle exercises to do. I have to do my exercises every day to try and strengthen those so that when my brain tells me I need the toilet I have longer to then get to the toilet, so I can try and control it myself." 

Lucy: "I used to drink a cup of tea a day. Now I don’t drink any and it’s helped. But I’m also on these tablets that I take every night as well."

James: "They put me on DesmoMelt but it wasn’t really working because some nights I would wet and then other nights I would be completely dry. It’s not really done anything, but I think between the days I wet it’s been a lot longer since I started taking them."


Alice: "I tried a range of different medications. I think about three now. I’m still on the original one because none of the others worked. I’ve also had a TENS machine for three months."

Jasper: "We tried an alarm where when I weed in my sleep it would either hit a mat we had or a string, and then there would be an alarm that woke me up, but sometimes I would just sleep through it… and that worked but then the doctor said I’m not to do that because it won’t help me."


Amy: "I had a TENS machine. I put it on my front and back…I’d have to do it for an hour every night. And it did help a lot, because it just made everything more regular."

Click here to find out what to do if your doctor says there's nothing wrong with you.