Cystometry is used to measure the amount of urine actually in the bladder compared with how full the bladder feels. It is often used to diagnose problems with the main muscles of the bladder wall (the detrusor) or urethra (the urethral sphincter). It can also help identify problems with the nerve response between the brain and urinary tract, which can affect bladder control and lead to urinary incontinence. Cystometry is a common urinary test with few side effects. It is a valuable tool in planning a course of treatment.

Cystometry is typically performed in a physician’s office.

This test generally takes 30 to 60 minutes.

There is no need to fast or adjust your normal food or fluid intake prior to the test. Your health care provider may ask you to temporarily stop taking some medications that can affect test results. You may be given an antibiotic a day or so before the procedure.

During Your Cystometry
Before the test begins, you will be asked to empty your bladder into a toilet that is connected to a machine that measures how much urine passes through it and how long it takes. Then you will be asked to lay on your back on an examination table. A flexible, thin plastic catheter is then slowly inserted through the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder) and into your bladder. Measurements will then be taken of how much, if any, urine remains in your bladder and bladder pressure. You may also have a catheter or probe inserted into your rectum, or adhesive electrodes may be placed on either side of the anal opening to measure muscle function.

Your bladder will then be slowly filled with fluid (water, saline or contrast solution) or gas through the catheter. You may be asked to describe different sensations, such as temperature changes and bladder fullness. Once the bladder is full, you will be asked to urinate while the pressure is being recorded again, along with flow rate.

You may experience some discomfort during this procedure, such as flushing, sweating, nausea, some pain and the urgent need to urinate. When these tests are completed, the catheter will be removed, along with any rectal probe or adhesive patches.

Following Your Cystometry
Typically, there is no special follow-up care required after cystometry. You may experience some burning, urinary frequency or urgency, or reddening of your urine for the rest of the day. Increasing your fluid intake can help to flush out your bladder, but caffeinated, carbonated or alcoholic beverages are discouraged as they may irritate your bladder lining. If pain persists or you experience chills, fever, reduced urine output or persistent blood in your urine, contact your health care provider. You may be given an antibiotic to help prevent a urinary tract infection.

You may wish to rest for an hour or so following the procedure, but otherwise, you can resume your daily activities immediately. Your health care provider will contact you regarding the results of your test and any recommendations for treatment.

Next Steps

  • If your doctor has ordered this test and you have additional questions or concerns, contact your physician’s office.
  • MyMichigan Health specializes in treating incontinence and other pelvic disorders. A nurse navigator is available to answer your questions or discuss options for testing and treatment.

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