There are several tests that a doctor can recommend to help to determine the type of incontinence and what is causing it – both important pieces of information to finding a solution to your personal situation.
The three most common tests are relatively simple and mostly non-invasive.
Diary (Void Log)
While this is recommended on a personal level to keep track of your own incontinence, a doctor may also ask that you record certain things like how much you drink, how often and how much you urinate.
You give a sample of your urine to your doctor. They then run a series of tests and analyses to check for infection, blood or other abnormalities.
Post-Void Residual Measurement
After you urinate, a doctor can measure how much residual urine is left in your bladder using a catheter or an ultrasound. This can be especially helpful in diagnosing overflow incontinence.
Using a catheter, a doctor or nurse fills your bladder with water while measuring the pressure in your bladder at the same time.
A doctor inserts a tiny camera on the end of a small flexible tube into your urethra and up into your bladder to check for and possibly remove abnormalities.
A doctor inserts a special dye into your bladder through a catheter. Using this dye, X-ray images may be able to reveal abnormalities in the bladder or urethra.
If this sounds like the thing they use to look at babies inside their mommies’ tummies, that’s because it is the same technology. Although most commonly used on pregnant women, ultrasounds can be used to look for abnormalities in your urinary tract.