Top of the page
Cystometry is a test that measures the pressure inside of the bladder to see how well the bladder is working. Cystometry is done when a muscle or nerve problem may be causing problems with how well the bladder holds or releases urine.
Urination is a complex process. As the bladder fills, nerves in the bladder wall send a message to the spinal cord and brain that you need to urinate. In response, your spinal cord sends a signal for the bladder to contract (voiding reflex). When you hold in your urine, your brain is overriding this reflex. When you allow the reflex to occur, urination occurs. A problem affecting this nerve pathway or the muscles of the bladder wall can cause bladder dysfunction.
During cystometry, your bladder is filled with water to measure its ability to hold in and push out the water. Medicine may also be given to see whether your bladder contracts or relaxes normally in response to the medicine. A small tube (catheter) can be placed in your rectum to measure pressure as the bladder fills. A small pad or needle may be placed near your anus to measure muscle function in this area.
Cystometry is done to:
In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.
Cystometry is done in a doctor's office.
You will need to take off most of your clothes below the waist. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
While the catheter is in place, another test may also be done to help find out if the nerves that control urination are working properly.
Cystometry testing usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. But it may take slightly longer if any of the special tests are done.
You may feel embarrassed at having to urinate in front of other people. This procedure is quite routine for the medical staff. If you find yourself feeling embarrassed, take deep, slow breaths and try to relax.
You will feel a strong urge to urinate at times during the test. You may also find it somewhat uncomfortable when the catheter is inserted and left in place, and you may be sore afterward. If so, soaking in a warm tub bath may help.
Cystometry usually doesn't cause problems. There is always a slight risk of getting a urinary tract infection when a catheter is inserted into the bladder. In rare cases, a bladder infection can spread to a kidney and into the blood, leading to a life-threatening infection. If an infection occurs, it can be treated with antibiotics.
Some results may be available right away. Full results are usually available in 1 to 2 days.
The rate at which urine flows from your bladder when you urinate is normal.
There's a normal amount of urine left in your bladder after you urinate (residual urine volume).
The point at which you first feel the urge to urinate is within the normal range.
The point at which you feel you must urinate is within the normal range, when the amount of liquid in your bladder is between 350–450 mL.
The maximum amount of liquid your bladder can hold is within the normal range.
Tests of the function of the nerves that control your bladder are normal.
Urine does not leak from your bladder during the stress test.
The rate at which urine flows from your bladder when you urinate is slower than normal, or your urine stream starts and stops.
The amount of urine left in your bladder after you urinate (residual urine volume) is more than normal.
You have trouble starting the flow of urine.
The point at which you first feel the urge to urinate is more or less than normal or does not occur.
The maximum amount of liquid your bladder can hold is less than normal or you can't feel it.
Normal sensations and reactions do not occur when the nerves that control your bladder are tested.
Urine leaks from your bladder during the stress test.
Current as of: June 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: June 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.