When we offer urodynamics testing at our clinic, or when patients are referred to us for urodynamics, they often come with questions. Because the information online can be sparse and unclear, we decided to answer the top 3 most frequently asked urodynamics questions in detail.
Do I need urodynamics testing?
Urodynamics are used to diagnose certain bladder issues that are very common in grown women, but seldom spoken about. Most commonly, your doctor will recommend urodynamic testing if you have urinary incontinence, urgency or urinary retention. It is especially recommended if you are considering surgery for any of these concerns.
How does it work? What can I expect?
3 catheters are used for the testing. One soft catheter is used to gently fill the bladder with water through the vagina while another measures pressure. It’s a similar feeling to when you have to go to the bathroom after drinking a lot of water.
Another soft catheter is used to measure pressure in the rectum. This catheter acts as data control. If the patient laughs or coughs during the test, it will create pressure in both catheters. If other factors create pressure around the bladder, it will only be measured by the vaginal catheter. Essentially, the rectal catheter allows the doctor to rule out any false information.
When the bladder feels full, the catheters are removed and the patient will be asked to sit on a commode to pass the urine into a collection jar (our doctors will normally leave the room at this point to offer some privacy). The collection jar is equipped with sensors that calculate the volume and speed at which the urine comes out.
The pressure measurements and the calculations from the collection jar give the doctors information on which they can diagnose and recommend next steps.
Are Urodynamics Painful?
There can be some discomfort because the catheter needs to pass through the urethra to fill the bladder, but a local anesthetic is often used to minimise any pain. The procedure is completely safe and the discomfort tends to be less pronounced in females because they have a shorter urethra than males.
Urodynamic testing can help our doctors diagnose urinary tract symptoms and recommend treatments, which could range from an exercise routine, to non-invasive laser treatments, to surgical procedures, depending on the individual case.