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How is UD Diagnosed?

Because UDs do not have clear signs, they can be found during an exam or imaging test. In some people, it can be years before the correct diagnosis is made. Patients are often misdiagnosed and treated for other things first.

A proper diagnosis can be made with:

  • An in-depth health history
  • Physical exam
  • Urine studies
  • Direct exam of the bladder and urethra (with an endoscope, or tube-like test with a light)
  • Imaging tests, such as an MRI or Ultrasound

Physical Exam

When a UD is found, the urologist may “milk” the sac to try to remove pus or urine. In women, the front vaginal wall may be felt for masses and soreness.

Imaging

Many imaging tests can be used to find UD. No single test is best. Each has pros and cons. The final choice often depends on:

  • Whether the test is available
  • How much it costs
  • The skill of the radiologist

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This type of test uses radio waves and a magnetic field to look closely at the urinary tract. It has the best record of finding a UD. For more information on MRI please visit our UH.org article.

Ultrasound

Using sound waves, this test may show a UD, but would need a follow-up MRI to be sure. For more information on ultrasounds please visit our UH.org article.

Urodynamic Studies

These tests measure lower urinary tract function. They may find stress urinary incontinence (SUI) (accidental loss of urine caused by pressure on the bladder) from a UD. For more information on urodynamics please visit our UH.org article.

Videourodynamic studies (that add imaging) may be able to tell why SUI is happening.