Testing for Urinary Incontinence
When urinary incontinence becomes bothersome or affects your daily life, it may be time to consider talking to a doctor about urinary incontinence testing. Talking to a doctor about urinary testing will reveal more about what’s causing the incontinence and will provide options for treatment and managing symptoms.
Urinary incontinence testing may be indicated if the following is true for you:
- Symptoms are affecting your daily life
- Symptoms aren’t manageable with over-the-counter options
- Symptoms include pain or uncomfortable sensations
Urinary Incontinence Testing
During your appointment, a doctor may prescribe one or multiple of the following tests, to help get a better understanding of your condition. Some of these tests can be completed on the same day as your appointment, while others will require a separate visit.
- Urine analysis: this test uses an in-office urine sample to analyze your urine for blood, sugar, and infection.
- Blood test: a blood sample can provide insight into your body’s chemistry and show any condition that may contribute to the incontinence such as a kidney condition or diabetes.
- Renal Ultrasound: this is an imaging study done at a radiology office to take pictures of your bladder and the surrounding tissues to look for abnormalities.
- Cystoscopy: a more in-depth test, this procedure uses a small camera or a scope to examine the anatomy of your urethra and bladder.
- Cystometric test: this procedure involves a catheter that the doctor uses to fill your bladder with warm water, to test the bladder’s ability to hold fluid, evaluate its ability to hold liquid, and mimic situations that cause urinary incontinence.
Standard urinary incontinence testing may provide enough information for a doctor to proceed with a diagnosis and treatment plan, but some situations may require more specific testing. There are a few procedures and tests that are specific to women or men, and the following additional tests may be ordered depending on your symptoms.
Additional Tests for Women
- Cystogram: another imaging study, this test uses injected dye in your bladder to watch your urinary system through x-ray images.
- Pelvic Ultrasound: similar to a renal ultrasound, a pelvic ultrasound examines the bladder and surrounding reproductive organs for any abnormality.
- Bladder stress test: this examines which stressors in daily life, like coughing or jumping, cause the incontinence.
Additional Tests for Men
- Uroflowmetry: this test requires you to urinate into a special collection toilet or funnel to measure your urinary output as well as the rate at which urine flows.
- Postvoid residual test: looking to see how much urine is left in the bladder after urination, this test uses a camera or a catheter to drain urine after you’ve tried to void your bladder.
- Electromyogram: this specific test evaluates your nerves if the doctor has deduced that the muscles in your urinary tract are malfunctioning.
Treatment options to reduce or resolve urinary incontinence include surgery or medication. Through testing you will also be provided with better ways to manage your symptoms, such as with specific supplies, medications, or behavior modification.