What to Expect when your having a ‘Bladder Function Test’

hint: It Is Not What You Were Expecting.

  We’ve all at least heard of the, “What to Expect When Your Expecting” book. If your a mom, than it’s more than likely that you’ve even read a few of the What to Expect, Brand Books. For those of you who have not, your welcome.

  What to expect is a well known, trusted and loved series/Brand. It’s an informative, cheat sheet to all the things you should at least expect, when your expecting a child.

   This is not that.


Urodynamic Testing


Most Urodynamic tests are to check how well your bladder can hold and empty urine. Hense the name, “Bladder Function Test”. It sounds like exactly what it is.


In the days Leading up to this appointment, if you’ve gotten lucky enough to need one, you’ll be tracking your drinking habits, and your urination patterns, on a 10 paged, stapled together, “Journal”.

7 am - Drank 14 oz coffee - no leaking - no urgency - drinking fluids
740 am- Drank 3 oz water- 0 leaking- 0 urgency - drinking fluids
8am- peed - emptied bladder - 0 leaking - Urgency noted - urination w/out leakage w/ urgency
812am- peed - dripping - 1 leaking - 0 urgency - Jumping on trampoline, no urgency noted but slight leak 
10am- Drank 24oz water - no leaking no urgency - drinking fluids
1145am- Drank 30 oz Juice - no leaking no urgency- Drinking Fluids

Your journal will start to look like that of the example I made above. Once you’ve completed, you should have at least 3-6 full pages ( 3-4 whole days), of your drinking, and bathroom habits. Fun!!

On the day of your appointment, 1 hour before arriving, your told to chug 32oz of water in a short time frame. Then, nothing more to drink for 1 hour.

First, your nurse will come in and make sure your ready to begin testing. They’ll hand you 2 mini dixie cups. In one, the smallest mouthful of water, and in the other 1, one time antibiotic treatment, known as Bactrim and 2 AZO urinary Tract Pain Relief pills that will 100% have you peeing shades of orange and yellow by nightfall.

Then, you’ll get undressed, hop up onto the table, lay back, SCOOT… scoot down a bit more, Scoot a little bit more, and finally, you’ll give em your best frog legs!

Once the nurse, and testing Doctor / NP come in and catheterize you, they’ll start by sticking sensors all over your crotch area, your butt cheeks, and some other below-the-waist areas that are unidentifyable just by touch. These sensors are used to pick up muscle and nerve contractions, or lack thereof. This test will confirm whether or not the bladder and pelvic floor muscles are coordinating correctly.

  Once you’ve got a dozen or so, very strategically placed sensors, and wires coming out of your hoo-hA and sticking out from between your legs, ( hoping at this point someone has found a better way of doing this), your NP will then tell you that the remainder of the testing, will be done standing up. 

  After you’ve, very strategically, and with the help of the extremely good looking male nurse, gotten off of the patient table, you’ll be asked to empty your bladder into this toilet-type chair, as soon as the room is empty.

  From just outside of the room, the Doctor, Nurse & or NP, will be watching a screen that is somehow attached to the chair toilet. This is measuring to see how well you empty your bladder and at which consistensy and pace you do so, in a natural setting.


  Now, step 1 of the testing is complete, and we’re on to the not-so-natural stuff.

  Your Doctor will then have you stand up, next to the toilet chair, and will begin slowly fueling your bladder up with what they say is warm water, or Saline, only Stopping periodically to measure while you cough,  force a sneeze, and Bear down on that Bum like you are not having a baby.  This may feel slightly dangerous to some, but the health care professionals will reassure you that you are in the best place for emergencies to happen.

   Fill, Stop, Cough, Cough, Cough, Bare Down, Fill, Stop, Repeat.

 During this 30-60 minute ordeal, you’ll be asked to point out when you first feel the sensation of having to urinate, when you feel as though you could hold your urine for 30 minutes, for 15 minutes, for 5 minutes, and lastly, when your bladder is so full that you absolutely can no longer physically hold it without accidentally peeing all over the place.

   Once you reach the latter, your to sit down on the toilet chair, and without pushing, or thinking or really doing anything at all, let it all out. Pee, without trying to pee.  ( wellp I guess I could’ve held on for longer).

   You’d want to make sure to be completely sure about this decision. One woman said she never felt like she had to pee at all!!!  Only for a brief moment after the initial emptying of her bladder, did she feel the sensation or urge to have to pee again, throughout the entire testing!!!

 One would think it would be the most simple request ever asked of you. Until your right there, both sets of eyes locked on either yours, or on the sac of fluid hanging as it gets smaller and smaller.

  Fluid being pumped directly into your bladder, and you just cannot tell. I’ve never been great at tests!

    Most women aren’t sure what to expect, what they should be feeling as their bladder unnaturally and increasingly fills with fluid at a not so normal rate.

  Out of the 10-15 women with a prolapsed organ that I spoke with regarding their appointments, only two of them were not having incontinence with prolapse, a rare occurance.

  Both patients were told by their Doctors that they needed a handful of tests to produce any type of answer. Bladder function testing, UItrasounds, a hysteroscopy. Both were looking for a problem, a kink in the urethra.  Who would’ve thought that not having incontinence could be a problem!?

  Urodynamic tests focus on how well your bladder can hold and empty urine, and whether or not your bladder is contracting when it is supposed to.  

  The testing takes roughly 1 hour start to finish and is generally pretty painless. The most uncomfortable part of the testing I think, is akwardly and precisely trying to stand up from the lying position with all the sensors taped and attached in between my legs, that or anything to do with the catheters. For some, it is the moment the catheter goes in and there is no relief until the moment it is removed, for others, pain or discomfort doesn’t start until the catheter is removed.

    Everyone has a different experience, a different body, different reactions, different feelings, a different tolerance, different Doctors, etc. So my experience will be different from yours, however I hope I helped ease the fear, or to just put your mind to rest by sharing. 

    Being a women can be scary. Being a mom is usually scary. But nothing is scarier than having to take care of yourself when you’ve forgotten to for so long. 


What to Expect when…




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