What‘s urodynamics? How’s it done, and is it painful?
- Urodynamic testing is a non-invasive bladder test done in the office. There may be minimal discomfort, but usually there is no pain.
- To start the test, the patient voids (urinates) on a special toilet that measures the urine flow and amount. So, it’s recommended to come in with a full bladder. Afterwards, a small, flexible catheter is inserted into the bladder to measure bladder pressure. This is where most patients have slight discomfort, but this is done in a matter of seconds and the discomfort almost always subsides immediately. Another small catheter is placed in the vagina to measure abdominal pressure. There is usually no pain or discomfort with the placement of this catheter. The bladder is then gently filled with sterile water or saline through the bladder catheter while bladder and abdominal pressures are being monitored on a computer. Throughout the filling process, your doctor will ask you to cough, bear down, etc. to see if leaking occurs and at what bladder volume and pressure. Your doctor will also ask you when you feel the urge to urinate and determine if your urge comes at a normal bladder volume. After the bladder filling is complete, your doctor will measure the pressure in your urethra (tube that exits the bladder and carries urine out) by slowly pulling the bladder catheter out. The catheter is then placed back into the bladder, and you then empty your bladder into the special toilet used at the beginning. The catheters are then removed, and the test is complete.
- Urodynamic testing gives you and your doctor an accurate diagnosis, so that you are ensured the correct treatment options are considered.