What is urodynamics?
Urodynamics is a study to assess the ability of the bladder to store urine, and to empty effectively.
Urodynamics is an aid to the examination which your doctor has performed. It is often used to assist in determining the cause of your bladder problems such as an unstable bladder and incontinence.
Your urodynamic studies should take approximately between half and three quarters of an hour to complete (that is if your bladder is full when you arrive). Urodynamic studies include a bladder ultrasound scan and flow rate, urethral pressure profile and cystometry. These studies are conducted as an outpatient procedure so unless otherwise told you will be able to leave when your procedure is completed.
Who performs the procedure?
Urodynamic studies are performed by personnel who have been trained in the use of the equipment and procedures, they usually consist of a friendly female registered nurse and a gynaecologist. The tests are interpreted by a specialized gynaecologist.
Do i need to do anything special before my procedure?
For the first part of the test we require that you drink one (1) litre of water one (1) hour prior to your appointment. Should you feel that you are unable to travel with a full bladder, we ask that you arrive one (1) hour prior to your appointment so we can give you the water when you arrive.
Although you will be able to drive it is recommended that you have someone else to drive you home.
What happens to me during the procedure?
The procedure itself should not be painful but some people find it uncomfortable. Relaxation techniques such as slow deep breathing or relaxing music may assist you to feel less apprehensive about the procedure.
The staff will endeavour to assist you to relax.
When you feel that your bladder is full it will be scanned using a low frequency hand held ultrasound probe.
Once we know how much urine is in your bladder you will be asked to urinate in a special toilet that measures how much urine you produced and how fast or slow the bladder emptied.
You will then be asked to change into a comfortable hospital gown. A small catheter will be inserted into your bladder through the urethra (water passage) to allow the staff to fill your bladder with sterile water. And a very fine transducer or probe, (about as fine as a match stick) will also be inserted, this will allow a computer to measure the pressures within your bladder.
A second very fine transducer needs to be inserted into your bottom; this may feel strange but should not cause you to have a bowel movement. This transducer is important in the pressure measurement. The urethral pressure point is measured using the same transducers which were inserted for the cystometry. We can measure the ability of your sphincter muscles (valves) to hold urine in your bladder, by slowly withdrawing the catheter through the urethra (water passage).
Throughout the cystometry part of the procedure the staff will ask you some questions such as when you need to pass urine.
As the bladder fills, you will be asked to cough or bear down to assess if there is any accidental leakage of urine. At the end of this test, you will be asked to pass urine into the flow meter again, while the pressure measurement continues.
What information is obtained form the procedure?
A bladder ultrasound is used in conjunction with a flow rate to interpret the amount of fluid within your bladder. When you feel that your bladder is full it will be scanned using a low frequency hand held ultrasound probe.
A flow rate is the most basic of all urodynamic investigations; it is a graphical representation of your urinary flow and measures the volume of urine that passes, and how fast or slow the bladder empties.
The urethral pressure point measures the ability of your sphincter muscles (valves) to hold urine in your bladder.
Cystometry assists the doctor to identify how much fluid is needed in your bladder before you feel any sensation, and how much fluid your bladder can hold.
What about when i go home?
Most people have no problems immediately after the procedure is performed. You should drink plenty of fluids during the remainder of the day so as to dilute your urine. If however you do experience ongoing burning or stinging when passing urine we suggest that you purchase a packet of URAL sachets from your local pharmacy and take one three times a day. This should also improve after 24-48 hours and is due to a small amount of irritation caused by the catheter. It can feel as if your bladder problems are worse after the test, but.again, this should subside after 24-48 hours.
Some minor bowel irritation, lasting a short period may occur due to the presence of the pressure catheter in the rectum.
If any problems persist for more than 48 hours or seem to be getting worse rather than improving in this time, then a urine test may be required to check for infection. Please contact either your local doctor, the Urodynamics Clinic, or your referring specialist.
Should you experience any fevers or feel ill, please contact your gynaecologist for advice as soon as possible.