Urinary Incontinence in Women
Exams and Tests
To diagnose the cause of your urinary incontinence, your doctor will ask about your Reference medical history and do a physical exam. It may be easier for you to answer questions if you keep a bladder diary (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?) for 3 or 4 days before you see your doctor.
To check for stress incontinence, your doctor may ask you to cough while you are standing.
Your doctor may also order these tests:
- Reference Bladder stress test and Bonney test
- Pad test, which can help show how much urine is leaking. You are given an absorbent pad that has been weighed. You wear the pad until urine leaks, and then you return the pad to be weighed again. The increased weight of the pad gives an estimate of how much urine leaked.
- Reference Urinalysis and Reference urine culture
Reference Urodynamic testing is expensive. It is typically done only if surgery is being considered or if treatment has not worked for you and you need to know more about the cause. It provides a more advanced way to check bladder function.
The actual tests done in urodynamic testing often vary. They may include:
- Reference Cystometry, a series of tests to measure bladder pressure at different levels of fullness.
- Postvoid residual (PVR) measurements, which measure the amount of urine that stays in your bladder after you urinate.
- X-rays or Reference ultrasound Opens New Window. These are used to examine changes in the position of the bladder and urethra during urination, coughing, or straining.
If the cause of incontinence is not identified by the above tests, more extensive tests may be needed.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology