There are several tests used to diagnose incontinence. Keep in mind that although not everyone will need to undergo each test, you may need several tests to ensure an accurate incontinence diagnosis.
A bladder diary is used to record how much liquid (and what type) you drink during a 24-hour period and how many times you urinate. It is also used to record any incidences of incontinence.
A urinalysis is a lab test of your urine. It is used to detect things like infection, blood in the urine, and diabetes.
A blood test is a lab test of your blood. It is used to detect diseases that may be contributing to your incontinence.
Postvoid Residual (PVR) Measurement
A PVR measurement checks to see if there is urine left in the bladder (and if so, how much) after you urinate. The test is done by inserting a urinary catheter into your urethra to drain the remaining fluid, or by viewing the remaining fluid in the bladder via ultrasound.
A pelvic ultrasound is a noninvasive test during which a wand-like instrument transmits images of your bladder, urinary tract, and genitals to a computer as is passed over your pelvic region. It is used to look for any abnormalities that could be leading to incontinence.
Stress Test (Cough Test)
A stress test is a visual examination that checks for urinary leakage while you are coughing.
Urodynamic tests are used to determine how well your bladder, urinary sphincter, and urethra are functioning. There are three types of urodynamic tests:
- Uroflometry: a test that measures how much urine is released during urination, how fast it is released, and how long it takes. To take the test, you’ll be asked to urinate in a special urinal.
- Pressure flow studies: a test that measures the relationship between bladder pressure and flow rate. It is used to test for bladder obstruction. To take the test, a urinary catheter will be inserted into your urethra and used to fill your bladder, after which you will be asked to urinate.
- Residual urine determination: a test that’s used to measure how much urine is left in your bladder after you urinate (postvoid residual volume). The test is done by inserting a urinary catheter into your urethra to drain the remaining fluid, or by viewing the remaining fluid in the bladder via ultrasound.
A cystogram, also known as a bladder scan, is a series of bladder and kidney x-rays that are done using a radioactive dye. The dye is inserted through a urinary catheter, and the x-rays are taken while the bladder is full. You may be asked to urinate during the test, after which more x-rays will be taken.
A cystoscopy is a test that looks for abnormalities in your urinary tract. The test is done by inserting a thin tube with a lens for viewing into your urethra.
For more information on tests and diagnosis for incontinence, contact Leroy Jones, MD, urology specialist of San Antonio.