Tests Used to Diagnose Incontinence

Jennifer G Health Guide
  • Since there are various types of incontinence, there are also several ways to diagnose the type of incontinence a patient has.  Exams range from simple to more lengthy/extensive:


    Patient  Medical  History

    A very basic way to determine the causes of incontinence problems can simply be to track the incontinence’s onset, characteristics, other patient health issues, and outside incidentals.  Issues of pain (with urination), general abdominal pain, urinary straining, leakage v. complete incontinence, urination patterns, and even age/cognition status may indicate whether the incontinence is caused by an infection, a medication, or a more serious ongoing issue.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    Urinalysis/Blood Work

    Bodily fluids can reveal several urinary problems, with or without other medical symptoms.  A doctor will look for infectious agents in the urine (indicated by pus or an increased white blood cell count), which can indicate a urinary tract infection, a prostate infection, or other infections. A urinalysis may also show an elevated level of glucose, or sugar, which can indicate a case of diabetes.  Blood in the urine, or hematuria, may suggest kidney stones.  Blood work may also be taken to check for certain substances that may cause incontinence.


    Specialized Urinary Testing

    If further testing is deemed necessary by your doctor, more specialized exams may be utilized. The following tests focus on different causes for incontinence: bladder strength, bladder retention, and urinary tract (including prostate) anomalies:


    Imaging Tests

    ·         Diagnostic ultrasounds of the kidneys, bladder, prostate, uterus, ovaries, and/or testicles may reveal abnormalities of the organs, such as enlargements, tumors, congenital anomalies, or disease processes.

    ·         Cystograms or cystoscopes, two other types of imagery, may also take pictures of anatomy to determine the cause for incontinence.


    Postvoid Residual Volume

    PVR measures the amount of urine left in the bladder after voiding.  A patient fills the bladder to fullness prior to the exam, voids, and then the volume of the remainder of urine in the bladder is measured.  A result of 50 ML or higher may indicate a urinary tract obstruction or bladder muscle or nerve problems.  Ultrasound or catheterizations are used to record PVRs. 


    Urodynamic Testing


    Bladder pressure can be evaluated by filling through a catheter inserted into the urethra.  A pressure monitor measures the pressure capacity of the bladder (and oftentimes the urethra.) Low pressure capacity (ies) can indicate blockages or anatomical deficiencies.


    *For further references, visit MayoClinic.com and UrologyChannel.com.

Published On: August 16, 2010