A group of tests carried out to investigate problems with bladder control, such as incontinence. Urodynamic studies involve the insertion of probes into the urethra, bladder, and rectum or vagina in order to monitor pressure changes while the bladder is being filled and emptied. In X-ray monitoring, the patient stands against an upright table while his or her bladder is filled with a contrast medium through a catheter and is then emptied again. The shape and functioning of the bladder, and the functioning of the urethra, can then be viewed on an X-ray monitor. At the same time, a continuous recording of pressure changes within the bladder is made on a paper trace. As the bladder is being filled, the patient is asked to cough. This action increases the pressure in and around the bladder, and if it causes leakage of urine onto an electronic absorbent pad, the patient has stress incontinence (see incontinence, urinary).


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