Urodynamic testing is a series of urological tests that may be performed to diagnose urinary problems. A physician may recommend urodynamic testing to investigate the cause of any urinary difficulties and assess the function of the bladder and its ability to store and empty urine. Urinary problems such as incontinence or an overactive bladder may be the result of several different conditions, including bladder infections, urethra or sphincter problems, enlarged prostate, nervous system malfunctions, or the side effects of medication.
Types of Urodynamic Testing
Urodynamic testing provides valuable data about bladder function and the urinary tract. Several different tests are used to evaluate symptoms of the bladder and lower urinary tract. Some tests may require preparation such as limiting fluid intake or temporarily stopping medications prior to the procedure.
A uroflowmetry test measures the speed and volume of urine flow. This test is used to determine if the bladder muscle is weak or urine flow is obstructed.
A Cystometrogram measures how much pressure the bladder can hold before needing to empty. A catheter is placed in the bladder as more and more water is added until the need to urinate is felt.
An electromyography test measures the muscles in and around the sphincter. This test is used to determine if the urological problem is related to nerve or muscle damage.
A Post-Void Residual Test
A post-void residual test, also known as a PVR test, measures the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. This test is performed using an ultrasound and inserting a catheter into the bladder through the urethra.
Pressure Flow Studies
Pressure flow studies measure pressure in the bladder while urinating. These tests help distinguish between urinary symptoms caused by obstruction, and those caused by a problem affecting the bladder muscles or nerves.
Other tests such as measuring residual urine and leakage may also be performed to assist the doctor in diagnosing urinary conditions. The series of tests may vary based on the individual's symptoms and the results of these tests help diagnose the cause and nature of a lower urinary tract problem.