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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:
Tell your doctor if you:
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form( What is a PDF document? ).
Cystometry is done in a doctor's office or hospital urology department by a urologist, gynecologist, or other trained health professional.
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 whether the nerves that control urination are working properly.
Another test that may be done is the stress incontinence test. In this test, your bladder is filled with water and the catheter is withdrawn. You are then asked to cough, bend over, or lift a heavy object. Dribbling urine means stress incontinence.
Cystometry testing usually takes 30 to 60 minutes, but it may take slightly longer if any of the special tests are done.
After cystometry, you will need to keep track of how much you drink and how much you urinate for the next 24 hours. A burning sensation during urination is a common but temporary side effect. Drinking lots of fluids will help relieve this sensation. You may be given an antibiotic to help prevent a urinary tract infection.
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 does not cause problems. There is always a slight risk of developing 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.
If you have a high spinal cord injury, you may have low heart rate, high blood pressure, headache, and feel flushed or sweaty during the test. Report these symptoms to the health professional conducting the test, since further testing may cause complications.
After the test, you may need to urinate frequently, with some burning during and after urination for a day or two. Drink lots of fluids to help minimize the burning and to prevent a urinary tract infection.
A pinkish tinge to the urine is common for several days after cystometry. But call your doctor immediately if:
Cystometry is a test that measures the pressure inside of the bladder to see how well the bladder is working.
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.
The amount of urine left in your bladder after you urinate (residual urine volume) is less than 30 millilitres (mL).
The point at which you first feel the urge to urinate is within the normal range, when the amount of liquid in your bladder is between 175–250 mL.
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: 400–500 mL.
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.
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Since the results of cystometry are often unclear, other tests such as cystourethrogram, intravenous pyelogram (IVP), ultrasound, or cystoscopy may also be needed.
CitationsFischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Other Works ConsultedChernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Current as ofJune 25, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineBrian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineAvery L. Seifert, MD, FACS - Urology
Current as of: June 25, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD, FACS - Urology
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