How Do Doctors Diagnose Urinary Incontinence in Females?

Posted by Clark Love on Nov 15, 2021 10:58:55 AM

Urinary incontinence affects an estimated 25 million Americans. Of these Americans, 75-80% are women.

Because there are many causes of female urinary incontinence, it takes careful consideration when recommending treatment.

Here, we discuss the different types of urinary incontinence in women and the best ways to diagnose the problem, including urodynamics.

Different Types of Urinary Incontinence in Women and Prevalence By Ageurodynamic test near me, urodynamic study procedure, urodynamic testing female

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence, or overactive bladder (OAB), occurs when a patient feels a strong urge to urinate even when their bladder is full. This often results in the patient losing their urine before they can reach a bathroom.

Some patients dealing with urge incontinence never have an accident. But they often experience increased urgency and urinary frequency, which can interfere with their day-to-day activities.

In women, urge incontinence often presents after menopause due to age-related changes in the bladder lining and muscle.

According to a study by EpiLUTS, women reported having urge incontinence, or OAB almost twice as frequently as men (30% vs. 16%, respectively).

Multiple studies show that the prevalence of urge incontinence increases as women age. Urge incontinence is more common in women over age 40 because the muscles controlling urination weaken over time.

However, the problem can occur at any age. A study that appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that more than 10% of women in the study--whose average age was 22--experienced OAB.

In many cases, younger women who experience urge incontinence do so because of the physical pressure of pregnancy and childbirth.

Below is a breakdown of the frequency of urge incontinence in women by age:

  • Women 40-44 years of age: 9%
  • Women older than 75 years: 31%

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence happens when physical movement or activity puts pressure on a patient’s bladder. These movements or activities often include:

  • Coughing
  • Laughing
  • Sneezing
  • Running
  • Heavy lifting

Stress incontinence affects 24-45% of women older than 30 years. One study of 907 women found that stress incontinence was the most common type of incontinence women experienced (nearly 40%). Childbirth and obesity are common causes of stress incontinence in women.

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed urinary incontinence is the combination of stress and urge incontinence. It’s relatively common for women to experience mixed incontinence. 14% of women report having mixed incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence

If a patient’s bladder never completely empties when they urinate, chances are, they’re experiencing overflow incontinence. This condition occurs when something blocks the normal flow of urine.Overflow Incontinence urodynamic study procedure

Men are more likely to develop overflow incontinence. This is because the problem often results from prostate enlargement that partially closes off the urethra.

However, overflow incontinence occurs in women as well. For example, in a woman dealing with severe prolapse of her uterus or bladder, these organs can cause the urethra to bend or “kink”.

As a result, this interferes with the flow of urine. Nerve damage from childbirth can also cause overflow incontinence.

Female Urinary Incontinence: How Do Physicians Diagnose the Condition?

There are several methods physicians can use to diagnose female urinary incontinence. However, we’ll focus on the standard patient questionnaires doctors can use to diagnose incontinence.

The Questionnaire for Urinary Incontinence Diagnosis (QUID)

The Questionnaire for Urinary Incontinence Diagnosis (QUID) is a 6-question validated questionnaire physicians can use to distinguish urge (UUI) from stress (SUI).

The QUID asks patients different questions to pinpoint the type of urinary incontinence they’re experiencing.

For example, the questionnaire focuses on how often a woman experiences urinary incontinence in the following situations;

  • When coughing or sneezing
  • When bending down or lifting up
  • When walking, jogging, or exercising
  • When getting ready to use the toilet
  • When experiencing a strong urge to urinate
  • When rushing to the bathroom

King’s Health Questionnaire

King’s Health Questionnaire assesses how urinary incontinence affects a patient’s quality of life. This questionnaire contains three parts:

  • Part 1: The first part of the questionnaire assesses a patient’s general health and the impact urinary incontinence has on their life.
  • Part 2: The second part of the questionnaire aims to uncover how urinary incontinence affects a patient’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities, such as going to work, doing household chores, and having a social life. Then, the questionnaire asks specific questions that aim to reveal how often and to what degree the patient has to make adjustments due to their urinary incontinence. For example, do they have to wear a pad? Are they more conscious than normal about how much liquid they drink? Do they often have to change their clothes?
  • Part 3: The last portion of the questionnaire asks patients if they’re experiencing certain symptoms, such as urinary urgency, urinary frequency, or bladder pain.

Michigan Incontinence Screening Index

Unlike other questionnaires, the Michigan Incontinence Screening Index aims to assess the type of urinary incontinence, severity, and quality of life all at one time. The questionnaire contains 10 questions that focus on the degree to which incontinence affects a patient’s quality of life.


The International Consultation on Incontinence Modular Questionnaire (ICIQ) aims to address the need for a more universal questionnaire that physicians and researchers can use in a variety of international populations.

The standard ICIQ asks 6 questions that center around how often a patient leaks urine, how much urine they leak, and how their condition affects their quality of life.

The ICIQ also addresses how urinary incontinence affects sexual function, which is a unique feature that other questionnaires don’t cover.

Urogenital Distress Inventory

The Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI-6) contains 6 questions that focus on lower urinary tract symptoms in women. This questionnaire aims to get more information on how frequently women experience pain or discomfort when dealing with urinary incontinence.

The Importance of Urodynamic Study Procedure for a Full, Precise Diagnosis

Urodynamics, or urodynamic study procedure, is a range of diagnostic tests to assess the function of the lower urinary tract. When it comes to urodynamic testing female, there is a wide range of tests, including:

  • Uroflowmetry - Measures the rate and volume of urine flow.
  • Post-void residual volume - Measures the amount of urine that remains in the bladder after urination.
  • Cystometric test - Measures the amount of urine actually in the bladder compared with how full the bladder feels.
  • Electromyography (EMG) - Measures the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves in and around the bladder and the sphincters.

A urodynamic study procedure can aid physicians in achieving the correct diagnosis of lower urinary tract dysfunction. This diagnostic method can accurately detect most abnormalities in the lower urinary tract.

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Urodynamic Testing Female

Physicians can build a treatment plan for women dealing with urinary incontinence by:

  • Obtaining patient history
  • Assessing urinary symptoms
  • Performing a physical exam
  • Making a diagnosis
  • Recommending treatment and therapies
  • Referring the patient to a specialist if they’re still experiencing symptoms.

If a patient’s urinary incontinence doesn’t show improvement, urodynamics testing can determine the potential cause of the patient’s incontinence. From there, the specialist can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Urodynamic Test Near Me

Urinary incontinence is a very treatable condition. However, if a physician fails to correctly diagnose the cause of the problem, their recommended treatment could possibly be ineffective.

By taking a multi-faceted approach to diagnosing urinary incontinence, urodynamic test near me can give physicians a clearer picture of what’s causing a patient’s condition. As a result, this makes for better treatment and overall outlook.

If you’re looking for a “urodynamic test near me”, Brighter Health Network can help. Our comprehensive urodynamic testing female services can help you provide a better quality of care. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


Topics: urodynamic testing female, urodynamic test near me, urodynamic study procedure

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