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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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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 bladder.
  • 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 pin.
  • 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 urinary incontinence.

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 In this test, your bladder is filled with water and the catheter is withdrawn.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 incontinence.

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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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