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What is a Urodynamic Evaluation?

By Nat Robinson
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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A urodynamic evaluation is an examination of the urinary tract. The evaluation is usually done when a person has difficulties with his or her bladder. In most cases, urinating problems such as increased frequency, urinary incontinence and decreased urination may lead to this type of evaluation. A urodynamic evaluation is generally made up of several different tests. Generally, the tests are performed on an outpatient basis, with patients returning home immediately after the procedure.

Sometimes, a urodynamic evaluation is called an X-ray exam. This is due to the fact that X-rays are used to capture multiple images of the urinary tract during the testing process. The multiple tests that make up the evaluation are usually done at one time. Bladder function, as well as the function of the urethra and sphincters, will be studied in a variety of ways. In general, the objective of the tests is to diagnose urinating disorders, so that doctors may correct any problems.

During a urodynamic evaluation, the bladder's internal pressure will be measured by filling it with fluid. Nerve signals in the organ are usually tested as well. An evaluation commonly measures the rate of urine flow as it exits the bladder. To test for urine leakage, the ability to hold urine may be measured through a urethral pressure test. Special tests are typically conducted on the sphincters to test their ability to release and hold urine, as well.

To prepare for the tests, individuals are usually asked to arrive at the testing center with a full bladder. It is important not to urinate before arriving at the testing center, as the bladder will need to be emptied into a special chair funnel. In the days or several hours preceding an urodynamic evaluation, a patient may be required to stop drinking caffeine. He or she may also be advised to stop taking bladder-specific medications.

Patients usually enter a hospital or outpatient center for the evaluation. Once there, he or she will change out of his or her clothing and into a hospital gown. As part of the evaluation, catheters are inserted into the bladder, through the urethra. The catheters, which will be connected to a computer, are necessary to fill the bladder for testing. After the catheters are put into place, patients may be asked several questions and to perform certain maneuvers as X-rays are taken throughout the testing process.

Doctors will inform patients of their results, which may or may not be available immediately after a urodynammic evaluation. Following the tests, most patients are free to return home and resume normal activities. Some people may experience minor pain, discomfort from the catheter placement and slight bleeding afterward. There is also a slight risk of infection. If an individual starts to run a fever, experiences nausea, vomiting or is unable to urinate, he or she should contact a physician.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1002568 — On Dec 22, 2019

It only sounds bad. Assuming the nurse selects the correct size catheter, it will be fine. They may ask if you want numbing gel but I really thing it's not needed.

By anon148485 — On Feb 01, 2011

This sounds very painful. Is it permissible to take a Tylenol with codeine before the test?

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