Urodynamic testing is a collection of tests used to measure urethral, bladder, and pelvic floor muscle and nerve function. The purpose of urodynamics testing is to aid in the diagnosis of urinary problems. A urodynamic testing may be recommend by the provider to investigate the cause of any urinary difficulties and assess the function of the bladder, and its ability to store and empty urine. It can help determine bladder capacity, the cause for many urinary symptoms and to help guide treatments for any urinary issues. 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.
Components of Urodynamic Testing
Urodynamic testing provides valuable data about bladder function and the urinary tract in both males and females. 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, increasing fluid intake or temporarily stopping medications prior to the procedure.
The Uroflow testing is used to identify voiding patterns, when voiding dysfunction is associated with bladder muscle weakness or urine flow is obstructed.
This test is used primarily for dysfunction related to storage function and sensation of the bladder. A catheter is placed in the bladder as more and more water is added until the need to urinate is felt. Pressures are measured to help evaluate bladder function.
An electromyography (EMG) test measures the muscles in and around the sphincter This test can help to determine if the urological dysfunction is related to nerve or muscle damage.
A Post-Void Residual Test
The Post-Void residual (PVR), is anoninvasive test used to measure the amount of urine left after the bladder is emptied. This test is performed using an ultrasound to measure the urine volume.
Pressure Flow Studies (PFS)
Pressure flow studies measure pressure in the bladder while urinating. This tests helps distinguish dysfunction caused by obstruction vs muscle weakness.
There are other test which can aid the provider to diagnose urinary conditions. The series of tests is based on the symptoms the individual presents with and will be tailored to their needs. The results of these tests can help to diagnose the cause and nature of a lower urinary tract problem and then help the guide appropriate treatment.