A patient undergoing a urodynamics test may experience anxiety and uncertainty towards his or her upcoming appointment. The following are 10 things a patient should do before a urodynamics test. (Note: the below are general recommendations. Any patient reading this should consult with their health care provider for specific recommendations.)
- Follow his or her regular morning routine. There is no need to limit the amount of food that is consumed before the test. Medications, except a few exceptions discussed below, should also be taken. A patient that follows his or her typical schedule and routine will better help the physician diagnose the problem.
- Bladder medications should be avoided. In order to determine exactly how the bladder and urethra are functioning, bladder medications should be avoided for 2 – 7 days before the test. Common medications include Detrol La, Ditropan XL, Enablex, Gelnique, Oxybutinin, Oxytrol, Sanctura XR or Vesicare.
- The patient will not require an escort. There is no sedation during a urodynamics test, so the patient will not require an escort to drive him or her home.
- Arrive with a full bladder. Patients should be instructed not to drink an excessive amount of fluids before the exam, but arrive with what would be classified as a “normally full” bladder. After arriving to the clinic patients should not use the restroom unless absolutely necessary. If experiencing extreme discomfort due to the urge to urinate, patients should be instructed to inform the receptionist. He or she will let the technician know in an attempt to speed up the process.
- The patient should notify his or her health care provider if the following symptoms are experienced: fever, chills, blood in urine, burning with urination, or other symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
- The patient should notify his or her health care provider if allergic1 to drugs or latex. A local anesthetic may be used and it is important for the doctor, nurse, and technician to wear latex-free gloves if necessary.
- The patient should notify her health care provider if she is, or believes she might be, pregnant. Certain urodynamic tests require x-ray, which may put the unborn child at risk.
- The patient should notify his or her health care provider if there is a history of the following illnesses or disorders: heart valve problems, rheumatic fever, artificial joints, artificial heart valves, or vascular grafts. A patient who has been told he or she is at risk of developing endocarditis must inform his or her doctor. These health issues may require administration of specific antibiotics before urodynamics testing.
- To block out 4 – 5 hours of the day. Depending on the specific urodynamic tests the patient is undergoing, he or she should plan to be at the clinic for 2 – 3 hours. This includes time spent in the waiting room, preparation for the test, the test itself, and any follow up discussion with the physician. Occasionally, urodynamic tests need to be repeated in order to gather the most accurate results. The tests themselves are typically short, approximately 30 minutes.
- The patient should reschedule the appointment if experiencing menstruation, diarrhea, or other bowel issues. Additionally, the patient should be instructed not to take laxatives on the day of the test, or the day prior. Additionally, as a courtesy to your nurse, technician, or physician it is recommended for the patient to arrive to the appointment having bathed or showered beforehand.
Ultimately, the 10 things a patient should do before a urodynamics test are based on patient safety and bladder health. The most crucial aspect is for the patient to alert the physician of any drug or latex allergies, and to arrive to the appointment with a comfortably full bladder. In some instances, urodynamics testing may result in a flare up of lower urinary tract symptoms, so it is also recommended to discuss a maintenance plan with the patient should a flare up occur.
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- Filon, F. L., & Radman, G. (2006). Latex allergy: a follow up study of 1040 healthcare workers. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 63(2), 121–125. http://doi.org/10.1136/oem.2003.011460 Link