As you discuss treatments using, of course, your AUA Treatment Checklist, it’s important that you discuss the pros and cons of any treatment choice with your urologist. Here are the questions that we think are important to ask and discuss.
How does the treatment work?
- What is it supposed to do?
- Does it coat the bladder like a bandaid?
- Will it help reduce inflammation?
- Does it fight pain?
- What is its method of action?
What are the potential side effects or risks?
No treatment, even herbs or OTC supplements, is risk free. They all have potential side effects based upon your personal medical history. Antidepressants, for example, are somewhat notorious for causing dry mouth, weight gain or an irregular heart rate. Ask your physician and your pharmacist about the potential risk of each therapy. If you are considering pregnancy, some medications may create risk for a developing fetus. Check out the ICN Pregnancy Resource Center for more information!
What has been the doctor’s experience with this treatment?
- Is it a new treatment or an old treatment in his/her clinic?
- What can you expect while you’re having the treatment???
- How about 24 hours (or longer) later??
- What are the short term, as compared to the long term results with this therapy???
- Will it require more treatments down the line?? If so, how many??
- Is it reversible?? This is particularly important for the more aggressive, invasive instillations and surgeries.
What are the costs
With so many patients struggling financially, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about what you can afford. The AUA Guidelines Step One focus entirely on easy, affordable OTC options that they believe should be explored. If you progress to step two, most of the medications are available in generic form. Drug assistance programs may also be available. If, for example, Elmiron is too expensive, you can consider the OTC supplement CystoProtek as an option.
More intensive procedures, such as surgery, should be priced out accordingly. Don’t forget to ask if your local medical center or hospital offers assistance to patients who are struggling.