The bladder is a very important part of our anatomy. Although it can seem like an annoyance at times (long car journeys and a full bladder don’t go together at all) we all should make sure that our bladders are in full working order, and if they’re not we should make sure we’re doing everything we can to help them along the way.
Why is it important?
As well as having a bladder problem being an inconvenience to you eg. incontinence issues, bladder problems can be an indication of cancer, so of course it is incredibly important to get checked out.
Your bladder should not control your life, so if your bladder control isn’t up to scratch, it’s time to get tested.
What can cause bladder problems?
Apparently a lot of things. But this isn’t a thing to be scared about, it’s something to be aware of.
– Pregnancy and childbirth (leakages are common. There’s been a baby on your bladder)
– Hormones for Women
– Prostate for Men (very important to get this checked out)
– Infections (UTI’s for example. Also just known as pure hell)
And many more. A health care professional will offer you advice on causes and preventions.
How to test for bladder problems. What happens?
The first step is to talk to your doctor. This will be a professional who will have seen and heard things much worse than your bladder problems. So there will no need to be embarrassed, even if you are talking about toilet things.
There will most likely be a physical examination. The doctor or health care advisor will feel your stomach or abdomen for lumps and place pressure around that area to see if you feel any pain. This may turn into an invasive examination where they will have to examine your muscles in the pelvic floor area. But still nothing to feel uncomfortable about.
A lot of the time to test for bladder problems you’ll have to do a urine test. Peeing into a pot or tube and having it sent off to the ‘lab’. Before it’s sent off, a doctor may use a dipstick to test the urine.
Biopsy’s can be done. This is when tissue is taken from the kidneys, urethra or bladder and looked at under a microscope. This is too test for cancer and other conditions.
Urodynamic tests are used to find out about how well the bladder’s working. These can come in many forms. All important and not something to worry about.
These tend to focus on the bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty at a steady pace and empty completely. They can also show whether the bladder is involuntarily having contractions that cause leakage.
You will need a full bladder for most tests. This means it’s a little uncomfortable, not because you’re in pain, but because you feel ready to burst. But don’t worry, a lot of the tests need you to empty your bladder as well, just keep thinking about the relief…
During the test, you will urinate into a special toilet or funnel which underneath will have a container for collecting urine on scales. The Urodynamics Flowmeter will create a graph that will show changes in flow rate. This may also record the time it takes to urinate into a container that records the volume of urine.
This measures how much urine the bladder can hold, how much pressure builds up and how full it is when you feel the urge to go to the bathroom. A catheter is used to empty the bladder completely, then a smaller one is placed in the bladder. This has on it a pressure measuring device.
Once emptied, the bladder is filled with warm water. You will be asked to describe how it feels and tell the doctor when you need to empty your bladder. When you feel this, the pressure will be recorded. You may be asked to cough to see if the pressure changes.
This test can be performed with local anaesthesia.
You can find Flowmeter, Cytometric and other testing equipment online at Digitimer.