Overactive Bladder Diagnosis

Overactive Bladder affects over 33 million Americans, but many still think it's just another part of getting older. The truth is there are many ways to diagnose this condition and combat it. To diagnose this disorder, your doctor will first review your medical history for any other urinary conditions you may have had, and when this current problem may have started. he or she will then ask questions about how often you urinate, how long this is going on, if you feel any pain, and if you're on any medications or have recently had surgery. Then they will examine your abdomen, pelvis, genitals, and rectum for other signs.

If OAB is suspected, you'll be sent to a urologist or a urogynecologist to have a series of tests performed. A urine sample is usually the first, and can detect other possible reasons for your overactive bladder including diabetes, Kidney trouble, or urinary tract infections. If all of these have been ruled out, a urodynamic test will likely be performed. This test will determine if your bladder is properly holding or emptying urine, and starts by measuring how much urine is left in your bladder after urination.

You'll be asked to urinate, and then after doing so you'll undergo an ultrasound of the bladder area. If there's any urine detected, a catheter will be passed through your urethra and into the bladder to measure and drain the urine inside. You might also be asked to perform a uroflowmetry test. This test involves urinating into a uroflowmeter, which detects the volume of urine being expelled, as well as the speed and strength of the stream. This can determine if there are any obstructions in the bladder or urethra, and rule them out accordingly. A simple stress test can also be performed, in which your bladder is filled with liquid and you're asked to cough.

Cystometry tests are another option. In this test, your doctor will use a catheter to fill your bladder with warm water, while a second catheter with a sensor that measures pressure, which is called a cystoscope, is placed inside your rectum if you're a man, or your vagina if you're a woman. You may be asked to urinate during the test so a uroflowmetry test can be performed. This can determine if you have involuntary muscle contractions in the bladder, or if your bladder is inflexible to the point where it can't store urine in low pressure amounts. Once OAB is diagnosed, your urologist will give you the best ways to fight the condition.

Last Updated: February 13, 2015