What is a paper towel test for urinary incontinence?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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A paper towel test provides a quick estimate of the degree of stress urine loss. [54] The patient is asked to cough repetitively and forcefully with a paper towel held a short distance from the urethra.

Standardization is accomplished by dripping known volumes of liquid onto the same type of paper towel to be used in the test. The area of the visible spread of the liquid on the towel is calculated for each known volume. The area of staining on the paper towel used by the patient with incontinence can be measured and the volume of the loss estimated.

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