If you are experiencing symptoms of bladder incontinence, your physician may recommend urinalysis. This is a preliminary diagnostic test in which a sample of your urine is sent to a laboratory to be tested for traces of blood, signs of infection, and any other abnormalities.
Urinalysis is designed to provide physicians with a general overview of your state of health so they can correlate your symptoms with the results of other targeted tests. If your lab results indicate that abnormalities were found, your physician may require you to have more specialized testing.
An uteroscopy is a diagnostic procedure, performed using a tiny video camera, that can pinpoint a range of problems in the urinary tract and surrounding areas. An ureteroscope is used to determine the cause of bladder troubles or bladder incontinence. It can look for bladder stones and problems within the urinary tract and kidney.
An uteroscopy, also known as an upper urinary tract endoscopy, is a minimally invasive, in-office test. It is performed by inserting the uteroscope, or small camera, into the urethra and moving it through the bladder and upper urinary tract.
Once in place, the ureteroscope examines the urinary tract for any malignancies or abnormalities and your physician can determine the best course of action for their removal. The most common finding of an ureteroscopy are stones of the urinary tract, kidneys, or bladder, which can make urination painful and difficult.
If kidney stones or bladder stones are found, there are a few different courses of treatment available based on your individual condition and your physician’s recommendation.
An upper endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that uses a tiny camera to examine the inside of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
It allows your physician to determine a number of underlying problems including bowel obstruction, ulcers, hernias, inflammation, or abnormal growths. It also tests for the source of gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, acid reflux, abdominal pain, or bloody stool.
An upper endoscopy is performed with a small camera, called an endoscope, which goes down your throat into your esophagus, stomach and the top of your small intestine. It is an outpatient procedure, and can be done at the same time as a colonoscopy if your physician determines that you need both tests.
A cystoscopy may be necessary if you have the following symptoms:
- Frequent urges
- Multiple urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Blood in your urine
- Urinary blockage from enlarged prostate
- Painful bladder or interstitial cystitis
- Kidney stones
A cystoscopy is an in-office test that uses a cystoscope, a long, thin instrument with a tiny lens and light on the other end. The cystoscope is inserted in the bladder, magnifying the inner lining of the urethra and bladder to enable your physician to check for malignancies.
During the procedure, a small camera at the end of a colonoscope, or long thin tube, is inserted into the rectum to identify possible ulcers, colon polyps, inflammation, bleeding, or tumors. The colonoscope is a specialized tool that not only has the ability to view the colon, but also take biopsies of tissues.
If you suffer from gastrointestinal problems, bowel leaks, or bowel incontinence, your physician may require a colonoscopy. The purpose of the colonoscopy is to identify the source of your bowel illness. It is the best way to identify current and potential risk factors, and it screens for colon cancer.
Preparation for a colonoscopy is very important. There are different types of preps that your doctor may recommend depending on the nature of your condition. Typically, you will be asked to have only certain liquids and to stay home from work or activities for a day to ensure the most comfort possible.
A bladder diary, also known as a voiding diary, is an easy, at-home way to document bladder symptoms. It is an excellent resource for your physician to review to help classify your symptoms and determine the source of your incontinence.
Recording a voiding diary involves tracking your liquids and symptoms for three days. You will need to write down:
- The times you drank any liquid, what type of liquid it was and how much you drank (e.g. 8 oz. water, 4 oz. coffee). Tip: use a water bottle with ounce markers on it.
- When you urinated and how much you urinated.
- When you experienced any sudden urges or leaks of urine.
This journal helps your physician determine your voiding habits including frequency of urination, fluid balance, and bladder capacity. It is a non-invasive way to gather your symptoms and assess the severity of your condition.
It does require diligence on your part, but only for three days. You can even do this before seeing a physician to ensure you have a handle on all your symptoms.
A voiding diary is an excellent first step in documenting your behavior, urges, and any possible leaks. If you are having any bladder urgency symptoms or other bladder incontinence, try a voiding diary.
At the Incontinence Institute, our expert physicians utilize a variety of methods to comprehensively diagnose bladder and bowel conditions.
Click the links below to learn more about our various diagnostic procedures.
Determining the best course of treatment to resolve your bladder or bowel incontinence symptoms is the first step in designing a long-term solution.