Urodynamic testing is used to determine how well the bladder, sphincters, and urethra are storing and releasing urine. Most urodynamic tests focus on the bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty steadily and completely. Urodynamic tests can also show whether the bladder is having involuntary contractions that cause urine leakage. Urodynamic testing may be recommended if symptoms suggest problems with the lower urinary tract.
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) include:
- Urine leakage
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Sudden, strong urges to urinate
- Problems starting a urine stream
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Postvoid residual measurement
- Cystometric test
- Leak point pressure measurement
- Pressure flow study
- Video urodynamic tests
Urodynamic tests range from simple observation to precise measurements using sophisticated instruments. For simple observation, a health care provider may record the length of time it takes to produce a urinary stream, the volume of urine produced, or the ability/inability to stop the urine flow in midstream. For precise measurements, imaging equipment takes pictures of the bladder filling and emptying, pressure monitors record the pressures inside the bladder, and sensors record muscle and nerve activity. The urodynamic test results help diagnose the cause and nature of a lower urinary tract problem.
Most urodynamic tests do not involve special preparations, though some tests may require a person to make a change in fluid intake or to stop taking certain medications. Depending on the test, a person may be instructed to arrive for testing with a full bladder.
Urodynamic tests may include: