Diagnosis Of Urinary Incontinence

The very first step in diagnosing a type of urinary incontinence is to visit a medical practitioner specialized in this field. Urologist specializes in treating problems of the urinary tract of both women and men, while urogynecologist focuses on women's urinary problems.

For accurate diagnosis of urinary incontinence all possible causes must be taken into consideration. To diagnose the problem you will be asked about symptoms, medical history, pattern of voiding and urine leakage and about other factors (straining, discomfort, use of medications...) that might suggest the type and cause of incontinence.

Apart from involuntary leaking of urine, people with urinary incontinence may also have some other symptoms:
  • Frequency: urinating more often than usual
  • Urgency: A strong urge to urinate whether or not the bladder is full
  • Dysuria: painfull voiding
  • Nocturia: The need to void during hours of sleep
  • Enuresis: Leaking urine while sleeping (bed-wetting)

To look for medical conditions causing urinary incontinence, doctor will give you a physical examination. Urinary problems may be caused by several conditions, such as tumors that block the urinary tract, constipation, nerve-related issues and others.

From gathered information the doctor will suggest which tests are needed to give the accurate diagnosis.

Often preformed test is a measurement of bladder capacity and residual urine for evidence of poorly functioning bladder muscles. Other possible tests include:

Stress test:

The patient relaxes, then coughs vigorously as the doctor watches for loss of urine.

Urinalysis:

Urine is tested for evidence of infection, urinary stones or other contributing causes.

Blood tests:

Blood is examined for substances related to causes of urinary incontinece.

Ultra-sound:

Sound waves are used to "see" kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.

Urodynamics:

Various techniques measure pressure in the bladder and the flow of urine.

Cystoscopy:

A thin tube with a tiny camera is inserted in the urethra and used to see the inside of the urethra and bladder.
Cystoscopes

It is often asked from patients to keep a diary for a few days or a week or so, to record the pattern of voiding and the amounts of urine produced. For measuring amounts of urine, a special pan that fits over the toilet rim, can be applied.

When all the information is collected, the doctor will determine the type of urinary incontinence and prescribe a suitable treatment.