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Tests for Urinary Incontinence

October 30, 2014 2 min read

Urinary incontinence is diagnosed through a series of tests that are usually done at the doctor’s office. Read below to learn about these different tests and how they are conducted:

  • Pad test

    – You will be given pre-weighed incontinence pads to wear for 24 hours. You’ll go about your day, doing the activities you usually do, while wearing the pads. You’ll store the used pads in a sealed bag and give them back to the doctor. The pads will then be weighed to determine how much urine was leaked.

  • Cough stress test

    This test requires you to have a full bladder. You will be asked to stand and cough vigorously, in which the doctor will observe for any urine loss.

  • Cystoscopy

    – A small camera is inserted into bladder via your urethra (small tube that urine travels from the bladder out the body) to see if there are any abnormalities.

  • Urodynamic studies

    – Urodynamic testing focuses on your bladder’s ability to empty completely and normally. Tests are used to examine bladder function, capacity and muscle strength. The bladder is filled through a catheter. Urodynamic tests are helpful when considering surgery as treatment. Urodynamic studies may include the following tests:

  • Post-void residual (PVR) test

    – This test measures the amount of urine left in your bladder after you’ve urinated. A postvoid residual volume of 100 mL (about half a cup) or more may require further testing.

  • Uroflowmetry

    – This test measures your urine speed (how fast urine comes out) and volume.

  • Cystometro test

    – A cystometrogram (CMG) measures how much urine your bladder can hold and how well you can empty it. During the test, your bladder will be emptied completely using a catheter. A smaller catheter (cystometer) will then be used to gradually fill your bladder with water. You’ll be asked about how your bladder feels and when you need to urinate. A cystometric test can help identify sudden bladder contractions.

  • Bladder diary

    – This is a log of what and how much you ate and drank during a 24-hour period. You’ll also record your urine output, plus any accidental leakage experienced. A bladder journal allows your doctor to establish any patterns in your voiding habits. The diary is kept for 3-5 days.

If you are experiencing involuntary urine leakage, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Urinary incontinence can be treated through behavioral methods, such as pelvic floor exercises, as well as medication and biofeedback therapy.


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