A cystometrogram is a medical testing procedure performed on women and men. It is generally ordered by a physician, typically a urologist, when a patient has a urinary problem. The assessment measures the pressure and capacity of the bladder. It may also reveal other bladder disorders or related illnesses.
The most common problems for which the test is used to diagnose include overactive bladder, difficulty urinating or urinary retention or incontinence. Men who are preparing for prostate surgery are frequently required to undergo this procedure to determine if their prostate enlargement has anything to do with a bladder problem. The test is also normally used on people who suffer from diseases that influence bladder behavior, such as spina bifida, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy.
The test is normally performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. If a patient is taking certain medications, a cystometrogram can not be done, as the medications may distort the results of the test. It must also be delayed if any trace of a urinary tract infection is evident or if the patient has a fever.
The procedure involves the insertion of two catheters into the body. A small rectal catheter is used to calculate pressure in the abdominal cavity. Another tiny catheter is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to measure pressure there. External anesthesia ointments are normally applied to the areas of catheter insertion.
Both catheters are then hooked up to a measuring device. Water enhanced with a saline solution is smoothly and slowly pumped into the bladder. At this point, the patient is quizzed about the physical feelings they are experiencing to determine the medical problem. When the test is over, the bladder is emptied and the tubes removed.
No fasting or ingestion of cleansing agents is required prior to undergoing a cystometrogram. A significant number of patients experience slight discomfort in urinating for up to 48 hours after the test. To ease this discomfort, the doctor frequently recommends that the patient increase their daily water intake to 34 to 68 ounces (one to two liters) during this time. There is a slight chance of minor infection at the points at which the catheters are inserted.
After the cystometrogram results are analyzed by the physician or laboratory, the doctor normally discusses treatment options with the patient. These may include a regimen of one or more prescription medications. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the problem.