Urologic treatments should only be administered after a comprehensive evaluation is performed on a patient. Bladder control problems often result in uncomfortable symptoms such as urinary incontinence, urination difficulties, painful urination, and frequent urination.
To understand the severity of a bladder control problem more clearly, the urologist must understand the pressure and volume of the bladder. Urodynamic testing is how this information is retrieved. It reveals the health and strength of the bladder, urethra, and sphincters responsible for holding and discharging urine. When the urologist understands the condition of the bladder, they can recommend the best treatment solutions for the patient.
The urinary system is a complex bladder and groin muscle network that transmits communication signals to the brain. The bladder, of course, is the muscular organ where urine is stored. As you drink more fluids, the bladder expands to hold more urine. When you release urine from the body, the bladder shrinks back down again.
The urethra is a duct or tube that transfers urine from the bladder to the tip of the penis or vagina. If you want to hold urine and prevent it from flowing out of the bladder, you must close your sphincter muscles. But if you leak urine even though you are closing the sphincter muscles as much as possible, it indicates that you suffer from incontinence.
Urodynamic testing will assess the performance of the urethra and bladder throughout this process. It will determine how well the bladder stores urine and how well the sphincter muscles can hold urine on demand. For instance, if the urodynamic testing showed the sphincter muscles as weak and ineffective, then your urologist might recommend that you get an artificial sphincter implant.
There is no need to stop taking your existing medications yet. The urologist will only advise you to switch medications or stop using them if they think it is counterproductive to maintaining your health. This advice wouldn’t be given until after the urodynamic testing is complete.
The patient is expected to come to the test with a full bladder. The urologist will start with a uroflowmetry test (flow rate test) to evaluate the strength of the urine flow from the bladder to the outside of the body. Furthermore, the urologist wants to see if the bladder can release all its stored fluids without experiencing increased pressure. All urine discharges should be done under low pressure. If urine remains in the bladder after urine discharge, it is known as a postvoid residual.
Not all urodynamic tests involve the use of intruding instruments and tools. Some tests are merely observational in nature. But if the urologist needs to measure urine volume and flow rate more accurately, it will require sophisticated measuring devices.
The patient does not have to recover from a urodynamic test. Once the testing is finished, they can go back to performing their everyday activities. The worst symptom of post-urodynamic testing is a mild burning sensation in the groin area. You might even see a small amount of blood in your urine. These symptoms will usually subside on their own. But if you continue to see these symptoms get worse, then call your urologist to schedule another appointment immediately.
Lesson to Remember
Testing is always the first part of the urologic treatment process. The patient will describe the symptoms to the urologist to get a rough idea of what is going on. Next, the urologist will conduct a pad test and physical examination to figure out the root cause of the urologic problem. Understanding the reason is the best way of knowing how to remedy the problem. Patients need to prepare themselves for lots of testing before they can learn how to overcome the problem.