Urodynamic Tests for Urinary Incontinence
Urodynamic tests for
urinary incontinence are measurements taken to
evaluate your bladder's function and efficiency. The actual tests done vary
from person to person.
Some urodynamic tests are relatively simple and can be done in a
doctor's office. Other tests require expensive and sophisticated instruments to
measure the amount of pressure experienced by the bladder and
For basic urodynamic testing:
- You will be instructed to arrive for testing
with a full bladder.
- While you urinate into a container, the volume
of urine and the rate at which the bladder empties are measured.
thin, flexible tube (catheter) is
then inserted into the bladder through the urethra, and the volume of any urine
remaining in the bladder is measured (post-void residual, or PVR). A slight
burning sensation may occur when the catheter is inserted.
bladder may be filled with water through the catheter until you have the first
urge to urinate. The amount of water in the bladder is measured at this point. Then more water may be added while you resist urinating until involuntary
More sophisticated testing uses electrodes placed in the rectum to
measure the electrical activity of the muscles while the bladder fills. This
test is not commonly done.
Why It Is Done
Urodynamic testing may be done when:
- You have moderate to severe involuntary release
- Other tests do not determine the cause of
- Your doctor suspects there is more than one cause for
- You are considering having surgery.
The amount of fluid left in the bladder after urinating, when you
feel the urge to urinate, and when you can no longer hold back urine are within
One or more of the following may be found:
- More than a normal amount of fluid remains in
the bladder after urinating. A large volume of urine remaining in the bladder
suggests the flow of urine out of the bladder is partially blocked or the
bladder muscle is not contracting properly to force all the urine out (overflow
- The bladder contains less fluid or more fluid than
is considered normal when the first urge to urinate is felt.
are unable to retain urine when the bladder contains less than the normal
amount of fluid for most people.
What To Think About
Some people may find it embarrassing to urinate while being
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAvery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014