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Tests Used in Diagnosing Overactive Bladder

Your doctor will measure your bladder capacity, and residual urine, for evidence of poorly functioning bladder muscles. To do this, you will drink plenty of fluids, and urinate into a measuring pan, after which the doctor will measure any urine remaining in the bladder. Your doctor may also recommend any of the following tests:
  • Stress test. During a stress test, you relax, then cough vigorously as the doctor watches for loss of urine.
  • Urinalysis. A urinalysis is when urine is tested for evidence of infection, urinary stones, or other contributing causes.
  • Blood tests. When you get a blood test, blood is taken, sent to a laboratory, and examined for substances related to causes of incontinence.
  • Ultrasound. During an ultrasound, sound waves are used to view the kidneys, ureters (ducts that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), bladder, and urethra.
  • Cystoscopy. A cystoscopy is when a thin tube, with a tiny camera, is inserted in the urethra, and used to see the inside of the urethra and bladder.
  • Urodynamic testing. Urodynamic testing includes various techniques that measure pressure in the bladder, and the flow of urine.
Diagnosing Overactive Bladder: Bladder Diary
Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary for a day or more, up to a week, to record when you void. This diary should note the times you urinate, and the amounts of urine you produce. To measure your urine, you can use a special pan that fits over the toilet rim.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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