Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
A wide variety of diagnostic tests are used, depending on the type or symptoms of incontinence. Some examples of diagnostic tests include
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.