|November 26, 2014|
|Home Health Information|
Search Health Information
Cystometry is a test that measures the pressure inside of the bladder to see how well the bladder is working. Cystometry is done when a muscle or nerve problem may be causing problems with how well the bladder holds or releases urine.
Urination is a complex process. As the bladder fills, nerves in the bladder wall send a message to the spinal cord and brain that you need to urinate. In response, your spinal cord sends a signal for the bladder to contract (voiding reflex). When you hold in your urine, your brain is overriding this reflex. When you allow the reflex to occur, urination occurs. A problem affecting this nerve pathway or the muscles of the bladder wall can cause bladder dysfunction.
During cystometry, your bladder is filled with water or gas to measure its ability to hold in and push out the water or gas. Medicine may also be given to see whether your bladder contracts or relaxes normally in response to the medicine. A small tube (catheter) can be placed in your rectum to measure pressure as the bladder fills. A small pad or needle may be placed near your anus to measure muscle function in this area.
Why It Is Done
Cystometry is done to:
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you:
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a PDF document?) .
How It Is Done
You will need to take off most of your clothes below the waist. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
While the catheter is in place, other tests may also be done to help find out whether the nerves that control urination are working properly. These include:
Another test that may be done is the stress incontinence test. In this test, your bladder is filled with water and the catheter is withdrawn. You are then asked to cough, bend over, or lift a heavy object. Dribbling urine means stress incontinence.
Cystometry testing usually takes 30 to 60 minutes, but it may take slightly longer if any of the special tests are done.
After cystometry, you will need to keep track of how much you drink and how much you urinate for the next 24 hours. A burning sensation during urination is a common but temporary side effect. Drinking lots of fluids will help relieve this sensation. You may be given an antibiotic to help prevent a urinary tract infection.
How It Feels
You may feel embarrassed at having to urinate in front of other people. This procedure is quite routine for the medical staff. If you find yourself feeling embarrassed, take deep, slow breaths and try to relax.
You will feel a strong urge to urinate at times during the test. You may also find it somewhat uncomfortable when the catheter is inserted and left in place, and you may be sore afterward. If so, soaking in a warm tub bath may help.
Cystometry usually does not cause problems. There is always a slight risk of developing a urinary tract infection when a catheter is inserted into the bladder. In rare cases, a bladder infection can spread to a kidney and into the blood, leading to a life-threatening infection. If an infection occurs, it can be treated with antibiotics.
If you have a high spinal cord injury, you may have low heart rate, high blood pressure, headache, and feel flushed or sweaty during the test. Report these symptoms to the health professional conducting the test, since further testing may cause complications.
After the test
After the test, you may need to urinate frequently, with some burning during and after urination for a day or two (especially if carbon dioxide gas was used). Drink lots of fluids to help minimize the burning and to prevent a urinary tract infection.
A pinkish tinge to the urine is common for several days after cystometry. But call your doctor immediately if:
Cystometry is a test that measures the pressure inside of the bladder to see how well the bladder is working.
Some results may be available right away. Full results are usually available in 1 to 2 days.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
What To Think About
Since the results of cystometry are often unclear, other tests such as cystourethrogram, intravenous pyelogram (IVP), ultrasound, or cystoscopy may also be needed.
Current as of: June 29, 2012
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Mount Auburn Hospital 330 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138 617-492-3500