Urodynamics are simply a combination of several useful tests which provide information about your lower urinary tract. This information is obtained much in the same way that an electrocardiogram (EKG) proxies information about your heart. Urodynamics “draws a picture” for your doctor and helps to determine the diagnosis and what will be the appropriate treatment of your urinary problem(s).
Urodynamics testing is done at the office and usually takes 30-45 minutes.
During the test you will be catherized at least once. Your bladder will be filled one or more times with carbon dioxide gas or water or both. You may have a very small tube placed in the rectum. The nurse will tell you beforehand whether you are to have this done. Muscle activity in your pelvis will be recorded during the tests by small electrodes which are placed on the skin near the rectum. These electrodes are very similar to those used for an EKG.
Preparation for Urodynamics
It is important to have a full bladder when you arrive for the studies; please be ready to urinate! There are no other special preparations or food restrictions for this test. If you wear padding, external catheters, etc., you may wish to bring extra supplies for replacement after the test. You can help to make the test easier by remaining relaxed. Each step of the evaluation will be explained to you throughout the test by the experienced nurse who performs the studies. Every effort will be made to make you as comfortable as possible during the procedure. A urodynamics evaluation usually includes the following tests:
This test involves filling your bladder through a catheter with sterile gas or water. The nurse will ask you when you feel the urge to urinate, and when your bladder feels completely full. Pelvic muscle activity will be recorded as already described.
A flow rate is done simply by asking you to void into a special toilet which records the pattern of your urine stream on a graph and the amount of urine you void. Muscle activity in your pelvis will usually be recorded while you void via the electrodes already described. The amount of urine left in your bladder after you void (the residual urine) will also be measured at this time.
Cystoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the interior lining of the bladder and the urethra. The cystoscope is a thin, lighted viewing instrument that is inserted into the urethra and advanced into the bladder.
The cystoscope is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into the bladder while your doctor looks through the scope to examine the inside of the urethra. Your doctor then examines the inside of your bladder for stones, tumors, bleeding, and infection. Cystoscopy allows your doctor to look at areas of your bladder and urethra that usually do not show up well on X-rays. Tiny surgical instruments can be advanced through the cystoscope that allow your doctor to remove samples of tissue (biopsy) or samples of urine from each kidney.
Cystoscopy can also be used to treat some bladder problems. Small bladder stones and some small growths can be removed by using tiny surgical instruments that slide through the cystoscope. This may eliminate the need for more extensive surgery.
After urodynamics, you may experience some burning on urination or some increased frequency of urination for a short time. If you drink plenty of fluids afterwards, it will help to alleviate this sensation. You may also have some blood in your urine for a short while, which should be minimal. To decrease the risk of urinary tract infection, you will be given a few days of antibiotics to take by mouth.
You should notify your doctor if you experience fever, chills, severe bleeding or severe discomfort after your urodynamic study.
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