If you have a problem with urinary leakage, your doctor might decide to undertake urodynamic testing. Urodynamic testing is a tool used by medical professionals to determine the cause of symptoms relating to urinary leakage and blockage.
Urodynamic testing is quite simply the process of testing the effectiveness of the bladder and the urethra. Urodynamic test allows your doctors to see if the sphincter is working properly, and it helps them to work out what causes symptoms such as incontinence, urinary tract infections and painful urination.
How urination works
There are several organs actually involved in the process of urination, which is quite a complicated process. Urine is formed in the kidneys after waste is extracted from the bloodstream, and the urine is carried from the kidneys to the bladder via the ureters (long tubes). In most circumstances urine only travels in one direction, towards the bladder. That said, there are times when urine can travel back into the kidneys, which can cause infections.
The bladder sits in the pelvic region and is held in place by muscles and ligaments. The bladder can be described as a hollow muscular balloon that inflates as it fills with urine. Healthy bladders will be able to store urine until you are ready to go, and will be able to store up to 16 ounces of urine, which roughly equates to 2 normal sized cups.
The tube that takes urine out of the bladder is called the urethra; the sphincters (circular muscles) prevent urine leakage by keeping the values to the urethra shut. As the bladder fills, you will become aware that you need to empty it. This is because nerves around and in the bladder send messages to the brain as it fills.
During urination, the bladder is being contracted by muscles surrounding it and the sphincter is told to relax by the brain. This is how normal urination works.
Incontinence is the involuntary process of urination. It can be caused by a number of different problems, the most common of which being childbirth, aging and injury. Disease and illness is also a common cause of incontinence.
Generally incontinence is caused by weak muscles surrounding the bladder, which are unable to keep the values that connect the bladder to the urethra shut. The bladder can also slip out of position if the pelvic muscles that support it are not strong enough.
Incontinence frequently affects mothers who have endured traditional childbirths; the pelvic floor becomes damaged and weakened due to excessive stretching, and the nerves that send signals to the brain get damaged as a secondary result of this stretching. It is important to note that incontinence is usually a symptom of a larger problem.
Seeing a medical professional
As soon as anything abnormal occurs when urinating, you should contact a health professional. This is because what may seem like a small problem might just be a symptom of a much larger issue, such as prostate cancer.
When you see your doctor or nurse, be prepared to give information about your medical history and any medication you may be on. You will need to talk about basic points such as the amount of fluid you drink daily, and more personal topics such as whether you have had any involuntary leakage in public or not.
You will not have to pass any special requirements to be able to undergo urodynamics procedure, nor will you have to prepare any information – though it is advised to prepare for personal questions.
Basic test information
Your doctor will start by using urodynamics equipment for testing whether the flow of urine is normal and steady. He will then measure to see if it is at a normal rate and quantity he will also check to see if you have to strain. Your doctor may just observe, although it is common for measuring equipment to be used.
If your doctor does use any equipment, he will probably use a uroflowmeter, which is a device that automatically measures the flow of urine in an accurate and precise way to get your urodynamics results .