Urinary symptoms consist of voiding or storage problems: we may experience difficulties in emptying our bladder or we wet ourselves. Occasionally these apparently opposite problems can coexist. The function of our lower urinary tract is complex and many factors can influence our ability to control our bladder.
A simple, yet invasive test to accurately assess the function of the lower urinary tract is a (video-)urodynamic examination, also known as bladder-pressure study. It complements other urological tests such as ultrasound and endoscopy. It involves measurement of the bladder pressure through tiny tubes.
When you attend for your study, you will first be asked to empty your bladder into a machine that records your urinary flow (flowmeter). Then you will be positioned on a couch and with the aid of a small amount of local anaesthetic we will gently pass a very small tune through your urethra (water-passage) into your bladder. A second tiny plastic tube will be inserted carefully either into your back passage or vagina. The tubes will be connected to the measuring equipment and a computer.
During the test we will slowly fill your bladder with fluid mixed with contrast dye. You will be asked to cough and strain at intervals and to tell us when you first feel a desire to pass urine. We will encourage you to hold on until your bladder feels full. If one of your symptoms is leakage of urine, we will also try to reproduce this so that we can see what your bladder does when your leakage occurs. Once your bladder is full, we will ask you to get up and empty your bladder again into the flowmeter. We will take X-ray pictures before, during and after your void.
You may find this test a little embarrassing. However, remember that it provides us with very valuable information that is needed to treat your symptoms successfully. Be assured that we will do whatever we can to preserve your dignity and privacy. The entire test is painless and only takes about 30min.
Once completed we will explain the test results and discuss possible consequences for your further treatment.
You will find more detailed information on the test in our patient leaflet (see resource section)
Christian Seipp MD PhD
Consultant Urological Surgeon