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If you are experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome, your provider will perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam, and a focused neurological exam to identify potential sensory problems or abnormal reflexes. You’ll also be asked for a urine sample so your provider can make sure that you don’t have an infection or blood in your urine. You may be asked to also complete a voiding diary over several days to investigate your normal intake and output.

Special urodynamic tests may be ordered to assess your bladder’s function. These tests may include:

  • Post-void residual (PVR): This test measures the amount of urine left after you urinate. A thin tube called a catheter is passed through the urethra and into the bladder. The catheter drains the remaining urine, which can then be measured. Another method uses an ultrasound scan to create an image of the bladder and its contents.
  • Uroflowmeter: This device measures the volume and speed of urination.
  • Cystometry: This test measures pressure in your bladder and in the surrounding region during bladder filling. A catheter is used to slowly fill your bladder with warm water. Another catheter with a pressure-measuring sensor is placed in your vagina. This test can reveal involuntary muscle contractions or a stiff bladder that cannot store urine under low pressure.