Urinary Incontinence Diagnosis

Medical History

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Your general medical history, including any major illnesses or surgeries, and details about your continence problem and when it started will help us determine the cause. You should talk about how much fluid you drink a day and whether you use alcohol or caffeine. You should also tell us about the medicines you take, both prescription and nonprescription.

Voiding Diary

We may ask you to keep a voiding diary, which is a record of fluid intake and trips to the bathroom, plus any episodes of leakage.

Physical Examination

A physical exam enables us to check for prostate enlargement or nerve damage. Through a digital rectal exam, we can get a general idea of the size and condition of the prostate. To check for nerve damage, we may ask about tingling sensations or feelings of numbness and may check for changes in sensation, muscle tone and reflexes.


We may recommend an electroencephalogram (EEG), where wires are taped to your forehead to check brain function, or an electromyogram (EMG), where wires are taped to your abdomen to measure nerve and muscular activity that may be related to loss of bladder control.


Abdominal ultrasound looks at images of the bladder and kidneys, while transrectal ultrasound shows images of the prostate.

Urodynamic Testing

Urodynamic testing focuses on the bladder's ability to store urine and empty steadily and completely, and on your sphincter control mechanism. It can also show whether the bladder is having abnormal contractions that cause leakage, and can help identify limited bladder capacity, bladder overactivity or underactivity, weak sphincter muscles or urinary obstruction.