Urinary incontinence is often treatable; therefore, women should see their doctor as soon as symptoms occur. If your doctor does not treat bladder problems, ask for help finding a doctor who does, such as a urologist or urogynecologist.
Diagnosing urinary incontinence includes:
- Bladder stress test – during this test you will cough or bear down while your doctor watches for urine loss.
- Blood test – to check for various substances known to cause incontinence.
- Cystogram – a special dye is inserted into the urethra and bladder. As you urinate, the die shows up on a series of X-rays. This test helps diagnose problems with the urinary tract.
- Cystoscopy – this thin tube is fitted with a camera that allows your doctor to look inside the urethra and bladder.
- Pelvic Ultrasound – to view the kidneys, bladder and urethra.
- Post-void residual (PVR) measurement – for this test you will be asked to urinate into a container that measures your urine output. Then your doctor will check your bladder for any leftover urine. If there is a large amount, you may have a urinary tract obstruction or a problem with your bladder muscles or nerves.
- Urinalysis – a test of your urine to look for infection or other causes of incontinence.
- Urodynamics –to test the strength of your bladder, a thin tube (catheter) is placed in your bladder to fill it with water. This test measures the pressure in your bladder when it's a rest and when it's filling.