Urinary incontinence and overactive bladder can be hard to diagnose because the incontinence cause sometimes cannot be fully identified. Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose incontinence:

Urinalysis: checking a urine sample under a microscope for evidence of an infection or blood

Post-void residual: done with a bladder ultrasound scanner and checks the amount of leftover in the bladder after urination

Physical exam: to check the pelvic muscle and ligament support

Urodynamic Testing:

This test focuses on the bladder’s ability to store and release urine using a special small catheter (thin, flexible tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra) that precisely measures bladder pressure. Urodynamic testing can help explain the following:

  • How well your bladder and sphincter muscles work by showing whether your bladder has normal contractions
  • If there is difficulty starting or maintaining a urine stream
  • If urine is left in the bladder when done urinating

Urodynamic testing is often used to diagnose abnormal bladder function problems such as urinary incontinence, urinary retention, problems emptying the bladder completely, frequent urination, painful urination or related voiding problems. Treatment can be appropriately applied based on urodynamic testing results.

Cystoscopy: involves using a small flexible tube with a light and camera that is placed in the urethra and bladder looking for abnormalities