Diagnosing stress urinary incontinence
Diagnosing stress urinary incontinence involves several steps. In order to determine the best option for treatment, it is important to know the severity of the incontinence. Methods to determine the severity include:
Pad Weights: In order to give an exact measure of the degree of leakage, we may ask patients to save all pads used for 24 hours in a zip-lock bag. These pads are then measured and compared to the weight of a dry pad. The weight difference shows the exact volume of leakage. This is an important step in determining the best treatment choice.
Cystoscopy: Cystoscopy involves placing a camera into the urethra in order to ensure there are no urethral strictures. If there are strictures, they must be treated before an incontinence procedure can be performed.
Bladder capacity measurement: At the time of the cystoscopy, patients fill their bladder as full as possible, then urinate into a container to measure how much urine the bladder can hold. Any residual urine in the bladder is also measured. This is key, as a patient with a larger bladder has better outcomes with a sling versus a urinary sphincter.