What is urodynamic testing?

Urodynamics is the study of how the body stores and releases urine. The test measures: 

  • The function of the bladder, urethra and pelvic floor muscles. 

  • The pressure in the bladder as it fills, stores, and empties urine. 

  • How the urine flows, how much urine your child’s bladder holds and muscle movements.

The purpose of this test is to see how your child’s bladder functions and to find any problems. Your child’s provider will decide how to treat their bladder symptoms based on the results. Please contact the clinic if your child is: 

  • Ill

  • Being treated for a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney infection with antibiotics

  • Has been treated for a UTI or kidney infection within the past month 

In these cases, your child’s testing may need to be rescheduled.

How do I prepare my child for the test?

The test will take about two hours. Your child should have one, soft, easy to pass bowel movement daily. If your child is on a special bowel program, please have them complete this the night before the test. 

Constipation may affect the results of the test. Your child should take all medicines as prescribed. If your child has decreased or no urinary sensation, the test will be performed in the Pediatric Specialties Clinic. 

If your child has normal urinary sensation, the test will be done with light sedation. Only a small amount of sedation can be used for the test to have accurate results. 

We understand this test may be hard for your child. A Child Life Specialist may be able to help. They can help distract your child and cope during the test. They want your child to be comfortable. A team member from the clinic will contact you before the test to discuss how you need to prepare.

Your child will need to be relaxed for the test. We suggest you talk to your child about this test in ways they can understand. Talk to them about:

  • The test

  • What to expect

  • Why the test is needed

  • What the provider is trying to learn from this test

  • How it might help improve their quality of life

Talking to your child may help them understand and make testing easier for your child. Tell your child you will be with them during the entire test. The more relaxed the parent is, the more relaxed the child is. By working together, we hope to complete the test with the least amount of stress for you and your child. 

What should I bring for the test?

Please bring items that will comfort your child. You can bring their favorite comfort item, toy or pacifier. Also, bring socks and a change of clothes.

During the Test

Your child will lie on an exam table for the test. Your child’s genitals will be exposed and cleansed. We will place a small, soft tube (catheter) into your child’s bladder through their urethra (opening where your child urinates). This catheter measures your child’s bladder pressure. 

We will place a second type of soft catheter just inside your child’s rectum. This catheter measures your child’s abdominal pressure. It is not painful but may be uncomfortable. Your child may feel like they need to have a bowel movement. 

We will place three small sticky patches near your child’s rectum to measure the pelvic floor muscles. All tubes will be secured with tape to make sure they stay in place during the test. 

Once the tubes and pads are in place, we will connect them to the computer. The test is now ready to begin. 

We will slowly fill your child’s bladder with a sterile fluid. We will fill the bladder at a similar rate to how the bladder fills on its own. During the test the nurse will ask questions about the sensations your child is feeling as the bladder fills. After the test, the nurse will help your child urinate in a bedpan or urinal with all catheters in place. 

We will need to see how your child’s bladder empties. If your child cannot urinate on their own, the bladder will be emptied through the catheter. We may need to adjust the catheter during the test to make sure the bladder has emptied. Your child will complete the test two times.

If your child is scheduled for a video urodynamic study, we will fill the bladder with contrast instead of water. This contrast allows your provider to use x-ray images to see the bladder while filling, straining, coughing, and passing urine. Please call us if you or your child could be pregnant. No other children will be allowed to attend this study.

After the Test 

When the test is complete, we will remove all the tubes and sticky pads. Your child may have some burning when they urinate. This is normal and should improve the more your child urinates. It should go away within 24 hours. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids. If your child is having any pain, you may give Tylenol®. A warm bath or shower may also help. 

When to Call

  • Fever over 100.4° F by mouth for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart

  • Problems passing urine 

  • Large blood clots in urine 

  • Bloody urine you cannot see through 

  • Pain or burning with urination that isn’t going away

Who to Call

Pediatric Urology Clinic 

(608) 263-6420 or 1-800-323-8942

After hours, your call will be sent to the paging operator. Ask for the pediatric urology resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The provider will call you back. 

Pediatric Sedation Clinic 

(608) 262-4402