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Incontinence FAQs (cont.)

What tests are used to diagnose incontinence?

A wide variety of diagnostic tests are used, depending on the type or symptoms of incontinence. Some examples of diagnostic tests include the following:

  • Measurement of the post void residual. For overflow incontinence, this test checks how much urine remains in the bladder after urination. The test can be done by inserting a catheter into the bladder after urination to see how much urine remained in the bladder or by using an ultrasound image to calculate how much urine remained in the bladder.

  • Cotton swab test. This test detects hypermobility of the urethra, which is common in women with stress incontinence. The test is performed by inserting a well-lubricated, sterile, cotton-tipped applicator into the urethra and bladder neck.

  • Cystoscopy. This diagnostic tool allows your doctor to view the inside of your bladder by inserting a small tube with a camera into the urethra and into the bladder.

  • Urodynamic tests. Sometimes called an ECG of the bladder, these tests are used to determine how well the bladder and sphincter muscles work. These tests are typically done in a series and can determine if your bladder fills and empties completely. They can also show if the sensation of fullness corresponds to the bladder actually being full.
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Incontinence, Urinary: Nonsurgical Therapies »

Urinary incontinence is defined by the International Continence Society as the involuntary loss of urine that represents a hygienic or social problem to the individual.

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