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Urodynamic testing

Urodynamic Testing: What It Is and Why It Matters

Many people will struggle with unwanted, inconvenient, or even painful urinary symptoms at some point. It’s important to seek care from an experienced urologist, as all urinary symptoms, including bladder leaks, can be diagnosed and treated. Often, your doctor will prescribe urodynamic testing to help you get to the bottom of your condition.

Urodynamic testing involves a series of tests that check how well the bladder, urethra, and sphincters are storing and releasing urine.

Knowing the functions of the critical parts in your urinary system is helpful in understanding how urodynamic testing works.

  • Bladder. The bladder is a hollow, muscular organ in your lower abdomen. Its primary function is to store urine produced by the kidneys until it is ready to be expelled from the body. When the bladder is full, it signals to the brain that it’s time to urinate.
  • Urethra. The urethra is a tube that connects the bladder to the outside of your body. It serves as the passageway through which urine is released during urination.
  • Sphincters. These are circular muscles that surround the urethra and control the release of urine from the bladder. There are two main sphincters involved in urinary control:
        • Internal urethral sphincter. Located at the junction of the bladder and urethra, this involuntary muscle keeps urine from leaking out of the bladder.
        • External urethral sphincter. Situated further down the urethra, this voluntary muscle allows you to control when to start and stop urination.

What Does Urodynamic Testing Measure?

Urodynamic tests measure things like bladder pressure, flow, and capacity. By looking at these factors, your doctor can get a better idea of any issues related to your urinary function.

Common tests you might encounter during urodynamic testing include:

Uroflowmetry. This test measures the speed and volume of your urine flow. You’ll be asked to urinate into a special device that records how quickly and how much urine you pass. It helps identify any blockages or abnormalities in your urinary tract.

Cystometry. During this test, your bladder is filled with water through a catheter to measure its capacity and the pressure inside it as it fills and empties. This test can help determine how well your bladder muscles and nerves function.

Electromyography (EMG). This test checks the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves around your bladder and urethra. Small sensors are placed on your skin or inserted into your urethra and rectum to record the electrical signals, helping to identify any nerve or muscle problems.

Pressure Flow Study. This combines bladder pressure measurements with your urine’s flow rate. It helps to pinpoint whether any issues are due to the bladder muscle’s ability to contract or an obstruction in the urethra.

Postvoid Residual Measurement. After you empty your bladder, this test measures how much urine remains. It can be done using ultrasound or a catheter, providing information about your bladder’s ability to empty completely.

Why Does Urodynamic Testing Matter?

Urodynamic testing is typically recommended if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Sudden, strong urges to urinate
  • Urine leakage (incontinence)
  • Difficulty starting a urine stream
  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections

Urodynamic testing matters because the symptoms it examines can be associated with conditions such as:

  • Overactive bladder, which is characterized by a sudden, intense urge to urinate, often leading to incontinence.
  • Neurogenic bladder, which can result from nerve damage affecting bladder control. It is commonly seen in conditions like spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, or diabetes.
  • Urinary incontinence that occurs due to weakened pelvic floor muscles, bladder muscle overactivity, or urethral sphincter dysfunction.
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate gland in men can cause bladder outlet obstruction and difficulty in urination.

See a Doctor for Urodynamic Testing

If you experience symptoms like frequent urination, incontinence, or difficulty urinating, schedule an appointment today with one of our specialists to discuss your symptoms and explore the best diagnostic options for your condition. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can get treatments to relieve your urinary symptoms.

Call us at 843.347.2450 to schedule an appointment today!

How Can We Help You?

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