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How is Neurogenic Bladder Diagnosed?

Neurogenic bladder involves the nervous system and the bladder. Your health care provider will conduct different tests to determine the health of both.

Medical History

Your health care provider will ask you a number of questions to understand your medical history. This should include information about the symptoms you are having, how long you have had them, and how they are changing your life. A medical history will also include information about your past and current health problems. You should have a list of the over-the-counter and prescription drugs you usually take. Your health care provider should also ask you about your diet, and about how much and what kinds of liquids you drink during the day.

Physical Exam

Your health care provider will examine you to look for something that may be causing your symptoms. In women, the physical exam will likely include your abdomen, the organs in your pelvis and your rectum. In men, the physical exam will include your abdomen, prostate and rectum.

Bladder Diary

You may be asked to keep a bladder diary, where you will note how often you go to the bathroom and any time you leak urine. This will help your health care provider learn more about your day-to-day symptoms.

Pad Test

During this test, you will wear a pad that had been treated with a special dye. The pad changes color when you leak urine.

Other Tests

  • Urine culture: Your health care provider may ask you to leave a sample of your urine to test for infection or blood.
  • Bladder scan: This type of ultrasound shows how much urine is still in the bladder after you go to the bathroom.
  • Cystoscopy: During this test, the doctor inserts a narrow tube with a tiny lens into the bladder. This allows them to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
  • Urodynamic testing: These tests check how well your lower urinary tract stores and releases urine. There are several urodynamic tests you may be asked to take. You may be asked to urinate into a special funnel to see how much urine you produce and how long it takes. You may have a catheter inserted in your bladder to drain your bladder or to add water to it and check the resulting pressure.

Imaging: Your health care provider may need to do additional imaging tests such as x-rays and CT scans to diagnose your condition. You may also be referred to a specialist for an exam that may include imaging of the spine and brain.