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A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is a test that is done to see if there are problems with the urinary system. The test uses contrast fluid and X-rays so the doctor can see how the bladder fills and drains. It is done by a doctor called a radiologist. A person who is trained to take X-rays, called an X-ray technician, may help the doctor during the test.
Your radiologist and technician will guide you through each step. For this test, a thin, flexible plastic tube called a catheter will be placed through your urethra into your bladder. Your bladder will be filled with a contrast liquid given through the catheter. X-rays will be taken while your bladder fills and then empties. The catheter will slip out or be removed after your bladder is empty.
You will be awake for the test. You may find it uncomfortable when the catheter is put in. Your bladder may feel very full. And you may have an urge to urinate when the contrast liquid fills your bladder. If you start to feel anxious at any time during this test, try taking deep, slow breaths.
You will be able to go home right after the test. You can go back to your usual activities right away. You may need to urinate more often for a few days after the test. You may also notice some burning during and after you urinate. This usually goes away after 1 or 2 days. Drink lots of fluids to help relieve the burning. This also helps prevent a urinary infection.
Having a test can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your test.
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Avery L. Seifert MD - Urology
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