Steps Toward Solutions: Diagnosing the Cause of Stress Urinary Incontinence
The first step in solving stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is to talk with a urogynecologist, like Dr. J. Kyle Mathews. Many of our patients have problems similar to yours, and there is no need to feel embarrassed about discussing your concerns. Together our goal is to identify the best solution for your individual case.
Our team at Plano Urogynecology Associates has a variety of tools that help us accurately diagnose the cause of your stress urinary incontinence.
Getting Started with a Urogynecologist
- Journal your symptoms to recognize exactly when leakage occurs and what has previously taken place. This is best accomplished by creating a “bladder diary” for a week or so before your appointment. Have your eating habits or medical prescriptions changed? How often do you go to the bathroom?
- Physical exams usually involve checking your abdominal, pelvic and rectal muscles. We want to determine whether there is any pain, muscle weakness, nerve damage or constipation which would lead to undue pressure or weak control of the bladder. We may request a blood sample for analysis, too.
- Urinalysis helps rule out urinary tract infections and internal medicine concerns. Be prepared to provide a urine specimen, and we’ll have a laboratory check for substances that lead to incontinence.
- Pad tests measure the amount of leakage you’re experiencing. You may be asked to wear a special absorbent pad until you experience urine leakage. Then we weigh the liquid retained in the pad afterward to produce our measurements.
Urodynamic Testing Is a Resource for Advanced Cases
Before recommending surgery, we may perform one or more advanced tests to collect measurable data on bladder performance.
Ultrasound tests are often used with or in lieu of X-rays to provide images of how your bladder or urethra changes during activities that trigger leakage. Fluoroscopy may also be used to give your urogyn video images of the process.
Postvoid residual measurement (PVR) utilizes ultrasound and/or a catheter to measure the amount of residual urine in your bladder after you urinate. That way, we know whether your bladder completely empties.
Bladder stress tests simulate the conditions, such as laughing, coughing or sneezing, that occur when urine leaks.
Flowmetry measures the rate of voiding. A variation of the test gauges the impact of pressure onto bladder.
Cystometry may be recommended if there is reason to suspect that you have nerve damage, weak muscle tone or the onset of a progressive neurological disease. The test measures how well the bladder or bladder sphincter (the muscle that holds urine in the bladder) functions. Dr. Mathews adds water or gas to the bladder and measures the pressure in the bladder and rectum. The change in pressure is monitored at various levels of fullness.
Cystograms incorporate dye into urine, which is tracked through X-ray images as the body eliminates the fluid.
Cystoscopes, very thin optics, are passed through the urethra to look for abnormalities, which may be removed during the procedure.
If you live in the Dallas, Plano, Frisco or surrounding areas and experience signs of stress urinary incontinence, consult a urogynecologist like Dr. J. Kyle Mathews. A urogyn has the advanced training to effectively diagnose and treat complex and commonplace problems that affect millions of women. Contact the Plano urogyn practice of Dr. J. Kyle Mathews at (972) 781-1444 for a consultation.