Illustration of patient sitting during urodynamic testing

What is urodynamic testing?

Urodynamic testing involves several diagnostic procedures to better understand the function of the bladder and urethra. Since the causes of urinary leakage vary from woman to woman, we specifically want to know how well your bladder stores and empties urine to correctly diagnose the type of incontinence you are experiencing.

If you have pelvic organ prolapse, we may ask you to undergo urodynamic testing before surgery to help plan for additional procedures to reduce the risk of urinary leakage. Additionally, if you have had surgery for prolapse or incontinence and are experiencing urinary symptoms, your doctor might recommend urodynamic testing.

How is urodynamic testing performed?

The only preparation you need for in-office urodynamic testing is to come to your appointment with a comfortably full bladder. There are no other special precautions you need to take. Our skilled nurses, who perform the test, will escort you to our procedure room, provide an overview of the test and make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible. There are three phases of the test which will each provide your surgeon with important information.

  • Phase 1: The first part of the test measures how fast urine flows while you empty your bladder
  • Phase 2: The next part of the test measures how your bladder and urethra respond as your bladder fills with fluid. For this portion of the test, a small catheter is placed in the urethra and the nurse will slowly fill your bladder with sterile water. Another small catheter is placed in your vagina. These catheters measure the pressure in your urethra and bladder during filling and emptying. While the nurse is filling your bladder, she will ask you questions about the sensations you are feeling. She will also ask you to cough or laugh to see how your bladder responds to these activities. Women might experience leakage during this portion of the test, but don’t worry — this is completely expected.
  • Phase 3: This is the last part of the test. You will be asked to empty your bladder while the urethral catheter remains in place to evaluate how the bladder and urethra respond when emptying urine.
Illustration of urodynamic testing

How will I feel after urodynamic testing?

Urodynamic testing is not painful and will take about 30 minutes to complete.