Tackling bladder issues with urodynamics 

Urinary leakage can be very embarrassing, with people often becoming isolated in fear of wetting themselves in public. One of the ways this issue can be diagnosed for effective treatment is through an urodynamic test.

Part of the test involves passing urine into a flow meter, which is a commode with a funnel for women or a stand with a funnel for men. The flow meter measures the force of the urine stream and the amount of urine passed. Through using these water filled catheters inserted into the bladder, doctors are able to look at bladder pressures inside the bladder and in the abdomen, showing urinary incontinence and enabling them to define the type of incontinence. They are also able to check for bladder emptying and the amount of urine the bladder can hold. 

Some of the abnormalities detected can be an outflow obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate, constipation or prolapse, stress incontinence, a bladder either not able to empty or not able to hold the urine. Once the patient indicates the need to use the toilet, they are directed to pass urine into the flow meter again. 


When a patient attends the clinic for an urodynamic study, they are required to bring a three-day bladder chart recording all drinks and urination, and a two week bowel chart, recording all bowel motions. A thorough history is then taken, including medical history, medications and bladder and bowel symptoms. Patients are required to complete a bowel chart as sometimes those with constipation problems who have improved their bowel function can also improve or resolve their bladder symptoms altogether. 

Once completed, the urodynamic report is sent to both the specialist who requested the test and the patient’s general practitioner. The results of the test will determine the appropriate treatment options. 

Toilet Paper

Practitioner advice 

The procedure must be referred by a medical practitioner, as there are risks involved such as urinary tract infection, discomfort passing urine afterwards and potentially a small amount of blood.


About the author: 

Sharon Homberg is a Continence Urology Nurse Consultant with post graduate qualifications in Urological and Continence Nursing. Sharon has worked in continence for 25 years. She is one of four continence nurses and a continence physiotherapist at South West Healthcare in Warrnambool, Victoria. Sharon runs a nurse-led Urodynamic service with a large catchment area from Mt Gambier in South Australia to Camperdown in Victoria. This is the only urodynamic service currently in the south-west of Victoria