A simple way help diagnose bladder and prostate problems is to undergo a flow study. This test involves passing urine into a flow meter that measures how fast you pass urine. After passing urine, Dr Ende's nurse will perform a scan of your bladder to measure how much urine you have left behind. Often patients feel empty but are surprised to see that in fact they are not.
If you take medications to help with your flow, you should continue these prior to the flow test as this is usually as good as your flow can get.
A low flow rate and incomplete emptying often indicate blockage and the need for further treatment. A flow study can also be used after treatment to check for improvement or monitor if blockages have recurred.
It is important to have a full bladder prior to this test, but not overfull. Patients should empty their bladder a couple of hours prior to the test and then drink 4-6 glasses of water while making their way to Dr Ende's office. The test should be performed when you feel a normal to strong desire to pass urine but it is not good to hold on too long as this can overstretch the bladder and impair its ability to empty normally. If you do not think you can hold on for too long, let my secretary know and we will try to get your test done when you arrive. If you are not ready to void when the nurse calls for you, you may wait and drink more water (or go for some coffee) until you feel ready.
Urodynamics is a specific test designed to obtain accurate information about the functioning of your bladder. It will help your Urologist to determine if there is a blockage, usually related to an enlarged prostate, or if in fact your symptoms may be related to some other cause of bladder dysfunction. This will help the Urologist to decide whether or not you need specific surgery to relieve a blockage or other investigations to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Urodynamics is a test performed in the Doctor’s Office. Dr Ende's Nurse will help set up the test and will often carry out part of the test. Following the test, on the same day, you will see Dr Ende to discuss the results and any further treatment that may be required.
The test itself involves passing a catheter (small tube) through the penis into the bladder. Another very small tube (2mm to 3mm diameter) is passed into your rectum and both of these tubes are then connected to pressure reading devices attached to the computer. During the test you will usually be standing or sitting next to the computer. Saline (salt water) will be slowly pumped into your bladder through the tube in your penis and as your bladder fills up, the pressure will be recorded. During the test the Doctor Ende will ask you how full your bladder feels and whether you have a weak or strong desire to pass urine. When you feel that your bladder is full this part of the test will be terminated. At this point you will be asked to pass urine into a small collection device to measure your flow rate. Once you feel you have emptied your bladder, all remaining tubes will be removed and the test will have been completed.
For women the tube to fill the bladder passes through the urethra (water pipe) at the top of the vagina directly into the bladder. Urodynamics performed in women is usually to help determine the type and cause of incontinence (urine leakage), or to measure bladder overactivity, and again, what treatment or further investigations may be necessary.
Following the procedure you may have some discomfort when passing urine for a day or so. You may even see a small amount of blood in the urine but in almost all cases this will clear up without any complication. In certain circumstances your Doctor may have prescribed you some antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection but this is a very uncommon complication.