To diagnose urinary incontinence, your health care provider will first ask you about your symptoms and your medical history and do a physical exam. You will also be asked about your bladder habits: How often you empty your bladder, how and when you leak urine, or when you have accidents, for example.
Next you may be asked to drink plenty of fluids so a test may be done to figure out how much your bladder can hold and how well your bladder muscles function. Other tests include:
Stress test: You relax, then cough hard as the provider watches for loss of urine. This should be done in an upright position.
Urinalysis: You give a urine sample that is tested for signs of infection or other causes of incontinence.
Blood tests: You give a blood sample, which is sent to a laboratory to test for substances related to the causes of incontinence.
Ultrasound: Sound waves are used to take a picture of the kidneys, bladder, and urethra, so any problems in these areas that could cause incontinence can be seen. Also, residual urine can be estimated in a poorly emptying bladder.
Cystoscopy: A thin tube with a tiny camera is placed inside the urethra to view the inside of the urethra and bladder and look for abnormalities.
- Urodynamics: Pressure in the bladder and the flow of urine are measured using a special technique.