Skip to Content

Diagnosis / Assessment

What to Expect During Your Visit

The following items will be covered during your medical examination:

Medical History: A detailed analysis of your bladder symptoms as well as a complete review of your past and current medical conditions, past surgical history.

A Physical Examination: This will usually include an examination of the abdominal and pelvic regions. For men, this will include examination of the genitalia and a digital rectal examination of the prostate. For women with stress incontinence, the pelvic examination sometimes includes catheterization of the bladder, filling of the bladder with sterile saline and observing for leakage with coughing and/or straining.

Blood Tests: When appropriate, blood tests may be performed to assess kidney function and to screen for prostate cancer (PSA testing).

Urinalysis: A urine specimen will be tested and examined for signs of blood or infection.

Bladder scan (post void residual): Some patients with bladder symptoms do not empty the bladder completely. The bladder scanner is a non-invasive ultrasound device that can actually measure the volume of urine remaining in the bladder.

Bladder Diary: A detailed recording of fluid intake and voided volumes over several days often provides important clues to the origin of bladder symptoms.

Cystoscopy: A minimally invasive endoscopic evaluation of the urethra and bladder. It is performed using local anesthesia.

Radiologic imaging is important in the evaluation of some kinds of problems and may include:

  • Ultrasound of the kidneys
  • CT scan of the urinary tract
  • MRI of the pelvis

Urodynamic Testing evaluates bladder function. This test measures the pressures inside the bladder and the activity of the muscles around the bladder during bladder filling and during urination. It helps to identify specific functional problems such as an inability to hold urine, sphincter weakness that results in urine loss or obstruction that prevents complete emptying of the bladder.


webmaster@surgery.wisc.edu Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System