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Urodynamics Test

Urodynamics is a test for finding out how your bladder, sphincter (the muscle around the neck of your bladder) and the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) are working.  The test can help find out the cause for bladder problems such as incontinence, or difficulty in passing urine.  The test may include X-rays to help your consultant make a diagnosis.

During the tests, your bladder is filled and then emptied while pressure readings are taken from the bladder and the abdomen (tummy). The idea is to replicate your symptoms, then examine them and determine their cause.

Urodynamics Test

A urodynamics test is used to find out how your bladder, sphincter (the muscle around the neck of your bladder) and the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) are working.  A urodynamics test can help find out the cause for bladder problems such as incontinence, or difficulty in passing urine.  The urodynamics test may include X-rays to help your consultant make a diagnosis.

What is a urodynamics test?

Urodynamic tests help doctors assess the function of your bladder and urethra (bladder outflow tract). They are usually done to investigate urinary incontinence in women.

During the tests, your bladder is filled and then emptied while pressure readings are taken from the bladder and the abdomen (tummy). The idea is to replicate your symptoms, then examine them and determine their cause.

What is the purpose of a urodynamics test?

The purpose of a urodynamics test is to find out:

  • if your symptoms are due to involuntary contractions (squeezing) or over activity of your bladder muscles
  • if you have the bladder capacity we would normally expect
  • if your bladder pressure is normal during filling and emptying

A urodynamics test is usually performed as an out-patient procedure. The test results will help you and your consultant decide if you need to alter your current treatment, or if you need surgery.

Before you come to the hospital you will be asked to keep a voiding diary for three days before you come for your appointment. A voiding diary is a record of how much you urinate. You will need to record what type of fluid you drink, when and how much, and the timing and volume of urine output. You may also be asked to give information about when you experience urgency or urinary leakage.

What can a urodynamics test help diagnose?

Urodynamics tests are used to help diagnose

  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Urge urinary incontinence
  • Mixed incontinence (stress and urge urinary incontinence)

A urodynamics test may also be helpful in investigating other causes of incontinence. Urodynamic tests are particularly important if surgery is being considered for the problem, to make sure the correct operation is performed.

What happens during a urodynamics test?

Urodynamics Test

The urodynamics test is performed in a room in the X-ray department. You will be asked to lie down on a special table and two thin tubes (catheters) are then inserted into your bladder through your urethra. You may feel the sensation of needing to pass urine as the catheters are put in. Some consultants may use a local anaesthetic gel when inserting these catheters but this is not always needed.

One of the catheters going into your bladder is connected to a sterile water machine and the other is attached to a pressure monitor.  A pressure monitor is a special machine that measures how much liquid your bladder can hold and the pressure inside your bladder.

A third catheter is placed in your vagina if you are female, or in your back passage (rectum) if you are male. This is also attached to the monitor and measures the pressure that the rest of your body is putting on your bladder.

Once the catheters are in place, your bladder is slowly filled with sterile water (which may also contain an X-ray contrast dye). Whilst this is happening, you will be asked to tell the consultant when you feel the need to urinate.

During the test, you may be asked to cough, strain or squeeze to check how your bladder reacts under pressure.  Your consultant may take X-rays during this stage.

Some water may leak out during the test and wet you, but try not to be embarrassed by this. Remember your consultant is trying to find the cause of your bladder problem. Any fluid that leaks out is not urine but the sterile water that has been pumped into your bladder.

You will then be asked to empty your bladder so that the catheters can measure the flow rate and pressure at which you urinate. At the end of the test, the catheters will be removed and you will have privacy to dress.

The test usually takes 30 to 40 minutes and it should not be painful, although it may be uncomfortable at times.

Some people find the prospect of having the test embarrassing, but understanding what will happen during the procedure may help you with this.  The staff looking after you will be experienced in performing this test and will try to put you at your ease as much as possible.

After the urodynamic study your consultant will review the results and may discuss them with you after the test, or you may be asked to return for a follow-up appointment with your referring clinician when the results will be explained.

The test will hopefully give a better understanding of your bladder problem and your clinician will offer suitable advice and treatment.

Urodynamics are a commonly performed and generally safe procedure.  For most people, the benefits of having a clear diagnosis are much greater than any disadvantages. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of procedure you are having and other factors such as your general health.  Ask your urologist to explain how any risks apply to you.

After the catheters are removed you may feel some mild discomfort, especially when passing urine. This should settle after a few hours. You may have some blood in the urine. This should settle after a day or so. To reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection you will be given a short course of antibiotics.

Preparing for a urodynamics test

Urodynamics Test

You may be asked to arrive for your test with a comfortably full bladder. If this is difficult, you may be asked to arrive a little early so that you can have a drink to fill your bladder.

What to expect after a urodynamics test

After the tests some people may feel a slight stinging or burning sensation when passing urine. If you drink plenty of fluids these symptoms should settle fairly quickly. If discomfort lasts more than 24 hours, take a sample of your urine to your GP for testing as it may be a sign of infection.

Some people find a small amount of blood in their urine when they go to the toilet. If this lasts more than 24 hours, you should see your GP as it could be a sign of infection.

After a urodynamics test there is a small possibility that you may develop a urinary tract infection. This is caused by putting catheters into your bladder during the test. To help reduce the likelihood of developing an infection after the test, you may be advised to.

  • Drink extra fluids for 48 hours after the test. This will help to ‘flush’ the system through. Aim to drink about two and a half litres a day for 48 hours after the test (9-10 cups)
  • Cut down on tea and coffee for 48 hours after the test. This reduces irritation of the bladder until it returns to normal.
  • Aim to drink water, herbal and fruit teas as well as juices and squash.

Contact us

To book a urodynamics test at our private urology clinic you can contact us by calling 020 7432 8297 or by emailing us at londonurology@hje.org.uk.

Urology Clinic

Our private urology clinic in London uses the latest techniques to give you the best diagnosis, intervention and aftercare for any urology problem you may be suffering from, allowing you to get back to your normal life as soon as possible.  We provide our urology Consultants with the most modern diagnostic equipment, so they can quickly find out what’s wrong. They also have four operating theatres at their disposal to carry out procedures, which cuts waiting times.

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Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7432 8297.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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