Urodynamics

KEY POINTS

  • Relatively simple test to evaluate the function of your bladder
  • Results of this test help guide treatment
  • The test is not painful and very safe

MORE INFORMATION

What are they?

Urodynamics are a test performed by your urologist to study the function of your bladder. They help evaluate your urinary symptoms. By helping to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition, they can help guide your treatment options.

Why are they being performed?

They can be used for further investigation in conditions such as urinary leakage, difficulty storing urine and difficulty passing urine. They can be used for a variety of reasons. They are commonly performed before contemplating surgery especially if you have had previous treatments or prior surgery; if your problems are complex such as neurological issues or if the diagnosis is unclear.

What happens in the procedure?

At the start of the test, you will be asked to come with a full bladder so that you can empty your bladder into a special toilet, that will check your urine flow rate and the amount of urine you passed. Then a tiny tube (catheter) is inserted into your bladder and rectum. Your bladder will be slowly filled with fluid and you will asked to tell us how your bladder is feeling throughout the test. You will likely be asked to cough or “bear down” to try and see if you leak. You will then be asked to empty your bladder, and then the tubes will be removed. The entire test should take around 30 to 45 minutes.

The tiny tubes help work out the pressures of your bladder muscle when your bladder is filling and emptying. They also help determine how much urine the bladder can comfortably hold and how well the bladder muscle works. All of this information helps the urologist to accurately diagnose your condition and decide the best treatment option with you.

X-rays and ultrasound may also be used simultaneously throughout the test so that pictures of your bladder and urethra are taken and extra information gathered.

Some patients may find the test embarrassing or mildly uncomfortable; but the test should not be painful. You should not be embarrassed if you leak urine or even stool during this test. As the test is trying to reproduce your symptoms, any urinary leakage may be thought of as beneficial, as this shows the urologist the conditions in which you leak, which may help them get a better understanding of your condition.

The test is performed without sedation as your feedback is required throughout the test. However, the test is not painful. Local anaesthetic gel may be used when inserting catheters to ease comfort. Fasting is not required. Your anticoagulation medication does not need to stop prior to the test. If you are on any medication for your bladder such as Oxybutynin, Mirabegron, Darifenacin, Solifenacin, it may be wise to ask your urologist whether they would like this medication to stop prior to the test. You should also let our urologist know if you are pregnant or if you have an allergy to contrast dye.

Are there any risks?

Urodynamics are generally very safe. A very small number of patients (1 in 100 patients) may get a urinary tract infection afterwards, which would require antibiotics. Increasing your fluid intake for the next few days after your test may help minimise this risk.

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