What is Urodynamic testing?

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Urodynamic testing is a diagnostic test designed to show how the urinary bladder and the urethra are functioning. The way in which the bladder behaves when it fills up (it is filled with serum) and empties (urination) is observed and recorded, as is whether the urethra closes properly when it should (for example when coughing or using force).

What does it consist of?

The examination consists of measuring the pressure of the urethral sphincter and the inside of the bladder as it fills and empties, through the placement of small calibre catheters in the urethra and anus. After the test, a gynaecological examination is carried out.

What is it used for?

The recorded pressure is translated into graphs. Interpreting them allows the functioning of the bladder and the urethral sphincter to be assessed, and any possible abnormalities to be detected. It is possible that some urine leakage will occur during the test. There is no need for concern or embarrassment, as the objective of the test is to discover the cause of this urine leakage. Urodynamic testing is requested for women with urinary incontinence and other urinary abnormalities (for example difficulty urinating). It is also used in women with pelvic organ prolapse, to see how the bladder and urethra are functioning.

How is it done?

This test is done on an outpatient basis. No type of anaesthesia is required.

How long does it take?

It usually takes between 45 and 60 minutes.

How should I prepare?

On the day of the test, you are advised to wear comfortable clothing, as you will have to remove it from the waist down.

You need to drink 2-3 glasses of water between one hour and an hour and a half before the test, so you feel the urge to urinate when the test starts.

You should ensure you have had a bowel movement the night before or the morning of the test. If you have not, glycerin suppositories or other similar laxatives can be used.

There is no need to fast. The test is not recommended during menstruation.

You should bring all medical documents related to your urinary or prolapse problem, as well as a list of all the medication you are currently taking.

Situations requiring special attention

This diagnostic test cannot be carried out in cases of:

  • Active urinary infection.
  • Some cases of active vaginal and anal inflammation and infection.
  • Presence of blood in the urine (hematuria) with an unidentified cause.
  • Menstruation.

Who will perform the test?

Urodynamics is a diagnostic test carried out by a team of trained medical and nursing professionals.

What does the test feel like?

To carry out a urodynamic study, bladder catheters and other catheters are used, which may be slightly uncomfortable. Nevertheless, they are usually very well tolerated.

After the test, some patients mention temporary discomfort in their bladder. It is possible that you will experience a burning sensation, light bleeding and/or the need to urinate frequently. This is normal and these symptoms tend to disappear after a few hours.

Sometimes, a urinary infection may appear following the test. An antibiotic is usually indicated to prevent this from happening.

Substantiated information by:

Sònia Anglès Acedo
Cristina Ros Cerro
Silvia Escurra
Mónica López
Lorena López
Esther Benito

Published: 11 November 2020
Updated: 11 November 2020

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