Urodynamic testing is a sophisticated office-based procedure to help diagnose problems with urination and/or urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of urine). This type of testing studies the function and dysfunction of the lower urinary tract.
Although we may have a good understanding of the underlying problem following a complete history and physical examination, these test results provide insight into the cause of incontinence and helps the physician to develop a treatment plan.
Reasons that urodynamic testing is performed
- For moderate to severe urinary incontinence
- If other tests do not determine the cause of incontinence
- If your doctor suspects there is more than one cause for your incontinence
- If you are considering having incontinence or prolapse surgery
Urodynamic tests for urinary incontinence are measurements taken to evaluate the bladder’s function and efficiency. It is a combination of several tests and the actual tests performed may vary from person to person.
The test is not painful and does not involve the use of sedatives or anesthesia. The testing takes about one hour to complete. Patients should check with their insurance provider to see if a physician referral is needed.
What you can expect
On the day of your test, arrive with a comfortably full bladder. If your doctor had you fill out a bladder diary, please bring it to this appointment.
If you are prone to urinary tract infections or think you may currently may have an infection – call our office. Urodynamic testing is not performed on individuals with an infection. You will need to have a urine culture and pending the results of the culture, you must be on the proper antibiotic. We will reschedule your test after the infection has cleared.
There is no need to fast, so you can eat and drink before your appointment. You will be able to drive yourself home after the testing because no anesthesia or sedatives are used.
Types of testing
Uroflow study: A uroflow study is a simple voiding test. You will be asked to sit on a special commode and empty your bladder in private. (This is why it is important to arrive with a comfortably full bladder.) This study collects information on how you empty the bladder.
Post void residual and urine dipstick: After the uroflow testing, a small catheter is placed inside the bladder to remove any remaining urine. By passing this small catheter we can empty the bladder completely for the start of the study. This will check how well you have emptied your bladder and test the urine for any infection prior to placing the urodynamic catheters.;
Filling study: We will place the equipment for the actual urodynamic test
- A thin catheter is placed into the bladder. This catheter is used to fill the bladder, while taking pressure measurements within.
- A second catheter is placed into the vagina or rectum if there is a vaginal prolapse. This catheter measures pressures from the abdomen.
- Three small gel pads or electrodes are placed – one on the leg and two near the anus. These pads measure electrical activity in the pelvic floor. You will not feel any sensation from the electrodes.
Once the catheters are in place there should be very little discomfort. It may take a minute or two to make sure that the catheters are calibrated sufficiently. As the bladder is filled with sterile water, we will ask when you feel your bladder is filling, when you feel uncomfortably full, and when you feel the need to use the bathroom. We may ask you to cough and bear down to see if you leak urine. We need to reproduce your symptoms of leakage to gain an understanding of how your bladder works.
Your physician will go over the results with you after all the testing is complete.