Urodynamics is the study of the function and dysfunction of the lower urinary tract. Urodynamic investigations are most commonly used to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence (UI) is a loss of urine control, ranging from leakage to severe wetting. UI is often a symptom of urinary tract infections, but it is also common in women during pregnancy or after menopause, when pelvic muscles are weakened. Stress incontinence is the most common type, where urine leaks during common activities, including exercise, when lifting heavy objects, or even while coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder is filled to capacity. UI can also accompany other conditions, including diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms include the inability to urinate, painful urination (without a known bladder infection), weakening of urinary stream, increased rate of urination (without a known bladder infection), sudden urge to urinate often without being able to make it to a restroom in time, and urine leakage.
During the exam, your bladder is filled and then emptied while pressure readings are taken from the bladder and the abdomen. The idea is to replicate your symptoms, then examine them and determine their cause. If urine leaks with no change in pressure in the bladder muscle, stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is diagnosed. If involuntary bladder muscle activity causes an increase of pressure in the bladder and leads to leaking, urge urinary incontinence (UUI) is diagnosed. If urine leaks without bladder contractions (SUI) and with bladder contractions (UUI), mixed incontinence is diagnosed.
Management of incontinence varies according to diagnosis, but may include behavioral therapies, pelvic muscle rehabilitation (Kegel exercises, biofeedback, vaginal weight training, pelvic floor electrical stimulation), medication, surgery (for structural problems), or diet modifications.