Urodynamics, or UDS, is a set of tests that doctors like urologists, gynecologists and urogynecologists order to see how well the lower urinary tract system is working. For now, UDS testing is the only way to evaluate how well your lower urinary tract system functions.
In most cases, a medical professional orders UDS testing to assess your bladder’s ability to keep urine inside of it and empty it fully and steadily. UDS testing can tell your doctor if your bladder is experiencing involuntary contractions that may be causing urine to leak out.
UDS testing varies from basic observances to using exact measurements with sophisticated instruments. Today, the most common UDS testing includes electronic equipment along with pressure monitors to see what the pressure inside the bladder looks like and how the organ is dealing with those pressures. These sensors are able to record nerve and muscle activity.
To decide the specific UDS test needed, your doctor will consider your health, complete a physical exam and ask you about your lower urinary tract symptoms. The results of the testing will help your doctor diagnose the nature of any lower urinary tract issue that you’re having.
Most people seek out UDS testing when they are experiencing some sort of incontinence. But it is also used for those who are having trouble emptying their bladder entirely as well as for people who feel the need to empty their bladder frequently and suddenly. A weak flow of urine or sudden stopping and starting may indicate the need for testing as does recurrent urinary tract infections.
To have the tests, your doctor will place a small catheter into your bladder. Once your bladder is empty, a medical professional will refill it to measure what’s going on with the organ.
Most UDS tests take about 30 minutes. Testing may involve emptying the bladder while a medical professional listens, and this can be hard for some people. Other testing involves having a full bladder, which can be an uncomfortable situation. The catheter could cause mild soreness following the test.
UDS testing allows medical professionals to treat your specific condition. The results may indicate that treatment changes are needed. Testing uncovers bladder muscle overactivity, urethral diverticula and urethral obstructions. These are conditions that doctors aren’t able to diagnose with any other method.
The different types of UDS include:
This test is designed to determine how fast your bladder empties. It is used to assess people who have weak bladder muscles, an obstruction or trouble voiding their bladders.
Cystometry measures the pressure inside your bladder. Once your bladder is empty, a medical professional will insert a catheter that has a small balloon on the tip into the rectum or the vagina. The balloon is a pressure sensor.
When you're having a cystometry test, your doctor may position small electrodes on both sides of the rectum to measure the electrical activeness of these muscles. This type of evaluation can give your doctor more information about your particular condition.
The pressure flow study involves urinating using a special chair with catheters in place. The test allows your medical team to determine how your bladder is functioning as it empties.
Leak point pressure testing is used to diagnose stress incontinence. The test will show your doctor the point at which your bladder expels urine.
Postvoid testing involves inserting a catheter into the bladder, removing urine. This works to determine whether you’re able to empty your bladder fully. A common occurrence is feeling as though your bladder is empty when really, there is a small amount of urine left behind. Left over urine allows your doctor to make a diagnosis.
One or more of these tests can be used to uncover what may be going on with your bladder.
If you think you could benefit from UDS testing, contact the experienced and compassionate doctors at All About Women today.