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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Cystourethrogram

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Having barium (from a previous barium enema test), gas, or stool in the bowel.
  • Being unable to urinate on command.
  • Pain caused by having the catheter in the urethra. This may also cause problems with your urinary stream. You may have a muscle spasm or not be able to fully relax the muscles that control your bladder.

A cystourethrogram is not usually done during pregnancy because the X-rays could harm an unborn baby.

What To Think About

Other tests that use X-rays and contrast material to look for problems in the kidney, bladder, and urethra include:

  • Retrograde urethrogram. This test is sometimes used to check for problems with a man's urethra. A small quantity of contrast material is injected into the urethra through a catheter. X-rays are then taken. This test can help find tears, scar tissue, prostate narrowing, tumors, or malformations of the urethra.
  • Whitaker test. Also called a pressure/flow study, this test combines X-rays with measurements of pressure and flow in the kidneys and ureters. It is used to find the cause of blockage of the kidneys.
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) IVP is commonly done to diagnose certain diseases of the urinary tract (such as kidney stones, tumors, or infection) and detect abnormalities of the urinary tract that were present from birth (congenital). It can show the size, shape, and position of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters, and the urethra, and it can evaluate the collecting system inside the kidneys. To learn more, see the topic Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP).

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAvery L. Seifert, MD - Urology

Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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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