Urodynamic Testing:
Complex Name, Simple Procedure

Urodynamics determines how well the bladder is functioning and measures its ability to retain and expel urine. Why would you need Urodynamic Testing? Urodynamic testing becomes a viable option when other tests do not determine the cause of incontinence. It may also be done when the involuntary release of urine becomes more severe. It is suspected that there may be multiple causes of the incontinence. Those considering surgery may also be asked to complete urodynamic testing.

“Most of this type of testing focuses on the bladder’s ability to hold and completely empty urine at a steady pace,” says Dr. Marc Schwarzman, of UCA Princeton. “ These tests may also be able to show whether the bladder is having involuntary contractions, which can result in leakage.”

Depending on the characteristics, the tests used can range from very simple observations to those that require more sophisticated tools. At the simplest end of the spectrum, the doctor may record the length of time to produce a urine steam, the volume produced as well as the ability to start and stop the stream. On the more complicated end of the spectrum, your doctor may use imaging equipment to take pictures of the bladder as it fills and empties. Additionally, monitors can be used to record bladder pressure and muscle sensors to record nerve activity.

What is a Urodynamic Test?

There are a number of different urodynamic tests that can be performed. Some of these include:

  • Uroflowmetry – this measures the speed and volume of urine.
  • Postvoid Residual Measurement – this test is taken after a urination and measures how much urine is left in the bladder.
  • Cystometric Test – with this test, the doctor can determine how much urine the bladder can hold, the pressure that builds within the bladder and the volume within the bladder when the urge to urinate occurs.
  • Pressure Flow Study – this looks at the pressure required to create the urge to urinate.
  • Electromyography – this can be used if the doctor suspects the urinary issue to be related to nerve or muscle damage. It measures the electrical activity of the nerves and muscles, and helps evaluate the muscle contractions that control urination.

If you have been experiencing urinary incontinence and would like more information on urodynamic testing, consult with your doctor or contact a UCA physician near you.