What is urodynamic testing?
Urodynamics are a way of testing the functions and behaviors of the bladder and the urethra (the tube that leads from your bladder to the outside). The test usually involves the placement of a very small catheter, or tube, in the bladder, and another small tube in the vagina or the rectum. Sterile fluid is then used to fill the bladder, so that your doctor can tell how the bladder behaves as it is getting full.
Why is urodynamic testing necessary?
This kind of testing can be very helpful to figure out what parts of your bladder and urethra are functioning correctly, and which parts are not. The reasons that a woman might be experiencing incontinence, urgency, or difficulty emptying her bladder can be very complex, and these tests help to figure out what might be going on, and the best way to help get better. The results of these tests will often help your doctor determine the best treatment for you.
Are Urodynamic tests uncomfortable?
The testing should not be painful. An anesthetic gel solution may be used, and the catheters are generally very small. As your bladder is filled with sterile fluid, you may feel as though you have the urge to urinate. These sensations are an important part of the test itself, so be sure to tell the staff what you are feeling. You may be asked to cough, bear down, or other maneuvers which might make you leak urine; do not worry about this. It is important to remember that these tests can often help you find the right treatment to fix these problems.
Some people have mild burning or irritation when they urinate after the test; this should go away within a day. You should be able to resume your normal activities after testing.
What preparation is required before testing?
Your doctor may request that you arrive at the office with a full bladder, if you can. Your doctor may also check for a urinary tract infection in the days before the test, which will require leaving a sample.