Understanding Urodynamics Studies

Cross section of bladder with urine.

Urodynamics studies are a series of tests that give your healthcare provider a close look at the working of your bladder and urethra. The tests can help your provider learn about any problems storing urine or urinating.

Understanding the lower urinary tract

The lower part of the urinary tract has several parts.

  • The bladder stores urine until you’re ready to release it.

  • The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.

  • The sphincter is made up of muscles around the opening of the bladder. The sphincter muscles tighten to hold urine in the bladder. They relax to let urine flow. Signals from the brain tell the sphincter when to tighten and relax. These signals also tell the bladder when to contract to let urine flow out of the body.

Why you need a urodynamics study

This test may be ordered if you:

  • Leak urine (are incontinent)

  • Have a bladder that does not empty all the way.

  • Have symptoms such as the need to urinate often or a constant strong need to urinate

  • Have a urine stream that is weak or that stops and starts (intermittent)

  • Have persistent urinary tract infections

Getting ready for the study

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any medicine you’re taking. Ask if you should stop them before the study.

  • Keep a diary of your bathroom habits. Do this for a few days before the study. This diary can be a helpful part of the evaluation.

  • Ask if you need to arrive for the study with a full bladder.