How It Is Done continued...
While the catheter is in place, other tests may also be
done to help find out whether the nerves that control urination are working
properly. These include:
- Ice water test. Ice-cold water is injected through the catheter into your
- Bethanechol sensitivity test. Bethanechol is a medicine that normally makes the bladder muscles
contract. In this test, bethanechol will be injected under your skin.
- Bulbocavernosus reflex test. To test nerve function, a gloved finger is inserted into your
rectum and then the penis or clitoris is gently squeezed.
- Saddle sensation test. The skin around your anus is stroked or lightly pricked with a
- Maximum urethral closure pressure (MUCP). Urethral pressure is recorded as the catheter is gently pulled
out of your urethra. This test helps determine whether the muscles around the
bladder and urethra are functioning properly.
- Leak point pressure (LPP). Approximately
200 mL (7 fl oz) of sterile
water is injected into the catheter in your bladder, and then the pressures are
measured while you bear down (as if having a bowel movement). This test helps
find out whether the muscles around the bladder and urethra are working
properly. A low pressure reading may mean that poor muscle function is causing
Another test that may be done is the
stress incontinence test. In this test, your bladder
is filled with water and the catheter is withdrawn. You are then asked to
cough, bend over, or lift a heavy object. Dribbling urine means stress
Cystometry testing usually takes 30 to 60 minutes,
but it may take slightly longer if any of the special tests are done.
After cystometry, you will need to keep track of how much you drink and
how much you urinate for the next 24 hours. A burning sensation during
urination is a common but temporary side effect. Drinking lots of fluids will
help relieve this sensation. You may be given an
antibiotic to help prevent a urinary tract infection.
How It Feels
You may feel embarrassed at having to
urinate in front of other people. This procedure is
quite routine for the medical staff. If you find yourself feeling embarrassed,
take deep, slow breaths and try to relax.
You will feel a strong
urge to urinate at times during the test. You may also find it somewhat
uncomfortable when the catheter is inserted and left in place, and you may be
sore afterward. If so, soaking in a warm tub bath may help.
Cystometry usually does not cause problems.
There is always a slight risk of developing a urinary tract infection when a
catheter is inserted into the bladder. In rare cases, a bladder infection can
spread to a kidney and into the blood, leading to a life-threatening infection.
If an infection occurs, it can be treated with antibiotics.