How is urinary incontinence diagnosed?

Updated: Sep 23, 2019
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Patients with urinary incontinence should undergo a basic evaluation that includes a history, physical examination, and urinalysis. In selected patients, the following may also be needed:

  • Voiding diary

  • Cotton swab test

  • Cough stress test

  • Measurement of postvoid residual (PVR) urine volume

  • Cystoscopy

  • Urodynamic studies (see the image below)

    Urinary incontinence. Urodynamic study revealing d Urinary incontinence. Urodynamic study revealing detrusor instability in a 75-year-old man with urge incontinence. Note the presence of multiple uninhibited detrusor contractions (phasic contractions) that is generating 40- to 75-cm H2O pressure during the filling cystometrogram (CMG). He also has small bladder capacity (81 mL), which is indicative of poorly compliant bladder.

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