The Full Problem

Urodynamic testing is a commonly used form of diagnostic exam used by a urogynecologist and other medical specialists in treating their patients for urinary incontinence. A urodynamic test measures the way that the bladder functions, offering clear insight into whether it is performing properly in the urinary processes. Various types of urodynamic testing exist, and some of them are even simple enough to be done during an in-office exam.

Much like a cystoscopy, urodynamic testing assesses the bladder’s ability to fully empty, which greatly affects a patient’s ability to prevent such conditions as urge incontinence and stress urinary incontinence. In their simplest form, urodynamic tests require little preparation, though patients will be instructed to arrive to their appointment with a full bladder.

Taking Your Measure

So what happens next? While the patient urinates into a container, measurements will be taken of the rate of speed at which the bladder empties once the process of urination has begun; and the volume of urine will help determine the efficiency or inefficiency of that speed. Any remaining urine in the bladder will be measured by a catheter, which is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. This remaining urine is referred to as post-void residual, or PVR.

While the catheter tube remains in place, it will be used in filling the bladder with water until the patient first begins to feel the urge to urinate. A measurement of the water present in the bladder will be taken, and then more water will be added until the patient is no longer able to resist involuntary urination.

Pour On the Answers

Most often, urodynamic testing is ordered when a patient regularly experiences moderate to severe instances of incontinence; when other types of tests have been inconclusive in determining the cause for a patient’s incontinence; a patient is considering the need for surgery; or if a physician believes that there may be multiple factors involves in causing incontinence.

Results of urodynamic testing will be beneficial in determining an effective method of treatment for anyone suffering from incontinence, but it will also provide a more clear assessment of whether the condition might only be temporary and one solved through simple changes in lifestyle.

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