Your lower urinary tract has two main functions: storing and emptying urine. Urinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine. There are many factors that contribute to the development of urinary incontinence: being female; having given birth vaginally; white race; aging; menopause and the lack of estrogen; obesity; underlying neurologic, gastrointestinal, or pulmonary diseases; and occupational and recreational factors such as smoking.
Urinary incontinence reportedly affects approximately 13-25 million people in the United States, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. There is a common misperception that nothing can be done about it. In fact, Cystometrics is a great way to help diagnose any abnormal urinary functioning. Cystometrics is offered here in our office for all qualifying patients.
There are a few different types of urinary incontinence you may be experiencing:
Stress Incontinence: An involuntary loss of urine coincident with coughing, laughing, sneezing, walking, etc. This includes any activity that would increase abdominal pressure in your body.
Urge Incontinence/Detrusor Instability: A sudden, strong, and uncontrollable need to urinate.
Mixed Incontinence: A combination of both stress and urge incontinence symptoms.
Overflow Incontinence: The accidental loss of urine from a chronically full bladder. It is associated with a small quantity of urine escaping when a woman stands, bends, or exerts herself, without the urge to void being present.
Reasons to have Cystometrics done include urinary incontinence, incomplete bladder emptying, intermittent or weak urinary stream, and/or persistent urinary tract infections.
You may be thinking, what exactly is Cystometrics? This relatively non-invasive testing provides valuable data on bladder function for your physician to make the best recommendation for treatment. This study does not require sedation and can be done here in our office.
There are four main tests we perform on your bladder, which normally takes around 30-45 minutes to complete:
Uroflowmetry: You will be asked to urinate into a special container to record your urine flow over time. This portion is done with a full bladder.
Cystometry: Two small catheters are placed in the vagina and the bladder and slowly fills the bladder with sterile water to test how much your bladder can hold, how well the bladder muscles function and how the nerve signals work that tell you when your bladder is full. You may be asked to cough, bear down, or do abdominal crunches during this test.
Urethral Pressure Profile Study: This test evaluates the amount of pressure in your urethra with a full bladder to determine any cause of incontinence.
Pressure Flow Study: You will be asked to urinate with the catheters in place to test the pressure and flow of your urine output to evaluate problems with emptying urine.
Please take the Bladder Health Questionnaire. If you answer yes to any of the questions, be sure to discuss your urinary health with your provider. You do not have to live with urinary incontinence. Cystometrics can help diagnose you, and get you on your way to resolving your urinary issues.