The urinary tract is one of the most important systems in the human body. It is responsible for far more than the formation and transportation of urine. The urinary system affects everything in the body, from red blood cell formation to blood pressure regulation.
The urinary tract plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health in an individual. Understanding how it works, what problems can arise, and how to treat those problems is essential for patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How the Urinary Tract Works
The urinary system's primary function is to clean the blood. The kidneys act as filters and remove waste and excess fluid. Urine is a waste by-product created after the filtration of the blood.
The ureters are tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The urethra is a tube connected to the bladder that allows urine to exit the body during urination. The urinary sphincter is a muscle that controls the flow and speed of urination.
How often urination occurs depends on a few factors, such as the bladder size and how many fluids an individual ingests. In general, the average adult will urinate 800 to 2000 milliliters per day.
Why the Urinary Tract is Important
The urinary tract and system prevent a buildup of excess fluids and wastes in the body. Extra fluids and wastes can cause problems like stress on the heart and electrolyte imbalances.
The kidneys also make a hormone called erythropoietin, which tells the bone marrow to make more red blood cells, preventing conditions such as anemia. The kidneys also produce vitamin D, which is necessary for absorbing calcium and phosphorous, essential minerals for making bones strong.
The urinary system also plays a vital role in supporting good blood pressure. If the pressure is too low or too high, the kidneys will adjust the level by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that causes the blood vessels to constrict. This is why urination is key to maintaining a healthy balance in the body.
Problems in the Urinary Tract
There are common problems that can arise in the urinary tract. Some of these problems include:
- urine leakage or incontinence
- frequent urination
- painful urination
- overactive bladder or intense urges to urinate
- problems starting a urine stream
- problems emptying the bladder completely
- reoccurring urinary tract infections
These urinary tract problems affect a diverse number of patients throughout different patient populations. These problems make it difficult and sometimes painful for patients to live their everyday lives.
Many patients will turn to healthcare professionals to seek the answers to these problems and how to get back to a normal lifestyle. How can healthcare professionals offer the best solutions to their patients for these urinary tract problems?
What is Urodynamic Testing?
Urodynamic testing is diagnostic testing that measures how well the urinary tract is performing. Most urodynamic testing focuses on the bladder's capability to hold urine and empty it wholly and steadily. Urodynamic testing is modern in-office testing. Depending on the first diagnosis, further urodynamic testing may be necessary, including one or more of the following tests:
- postvoid residual measurement
- cystometric test
- leak point pressure measurement
- video urodynamic tests
Uroflowmetry measures the volume and speed of urine. This test is performed when a patient urinates privately into a specialized toilet with a collecting container and scale. The equipment measures the flow rate second to second, creating a graph that shows when the flow rate is the highest and how long it takes to get there.
Postvoid Residual Measurement
Using an ultrasound, a measurement of urine left in the bladder after urination is taken. This can also be measured with a catheter.
The cystometric test measures several factors: how much urine the bladder can hold, the pressure in the bladder, and how full the bladder is when the urge to urinate occurs. These measurements are taken with a catheter with a pressure recording device, also called a manometer.
Leak Point Pressure Measurement
This test is run in conjuncture with the cystometric test and will measure the pressure at the point of leakage.
Electromyography is used to measure the activity of the nerves and muscles in the bladder and sphincters. This will show if the bladder and sphincter muscles are communicating correctly.
Pressure Flow Study
A pressure flow study measures the pressure needed on the bladder to urinate and the flow rate a given pressure creates. A manometer is used again to measure bladder flow rate and pressure.
Video Urodynamic Tests
An X-ray is used to take videos and pictures of the bladder during filling and emptying. This helps the healthcare provider determine problems based on the bladder's size and shape.
Urodynamic Testing Female
Urinary tract problems in women are very common, especially in older women. These problems can result from childbirth, hormonal changes, and menopause.
Urinary incontinence and UTIs are some of the most common urinary tract problems in women. Urodynamic testing in women can adequately diagnose the problem and help the healthcare professional decide the best course of action.
Urodynamic Testing Male
Many men experience urinary tract problems as they age. This is usually due to inflammation in the prostate gland. This can cause problems such as inability to urinate, painful urination, or incontinence.
Urodynamic testing in men is the best way to evaluate these urinary tract problems in men and assist the healthcare provider in planning the proper course of treatment.
Urodynamic Test Cost
Urodynamic testing can be expensive for the patient. Costs can range anywhere from $550 to $1200. However, the good news is that Medicare and most insurance companies cover urodynamic testing costs.
A healthy urinary tract is essential to a healthy life. When problems arise, it can be a great nuisance for the patient or even a debilitating obstacle. Urodynamic testing is an invaluable option for healthcare providers to help their patients and get them back on track to a healthy life. For more information and resources on how you can utilize urodynamic testing, please visit https://www.bhnco.com/.