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Tests evaluate urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence can have a number of causes, according to the Mayo Clinic. They run the gamut from temporary causes, such as medication or overhydration; to relatively minor conditions such as urinary tract infection; to relatively serious causes such as bladder cancer.

A number of tests are available to determine the underlying cause, the Mayo Clinic says.

Though it’s a frequently troublesome condition, it’s usually treatable. But some treatments can create problems of their own.

Transvaginal mesh implants, marketed as a treatment for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, have been the basis of widespread lawsuits due to their tendency to fail and cause health problems. The most common reported problem is the vaginal mesh eroding and sticking through the walls of the bladder and vagina, causing severe pain.

In the first of about 11,000 lawsuits against vaginal mesh manufacturers to go to trial, a New Jersey jury recently awarded $11.1 million to a woman who received a vaginal mesh implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary.

The Mayo Clinic says common tests and processes used to diagnose urinary incontinence include:

  • Bladder diary, in which patients record how much they drink, when they urinate, the amount of urine they produce, whether they had an urge to urinate and the number of incontinence episodes.
  • Urinalysis, in which a sample of your urine is sent to a laboratory, where it’s checked for signs of infection, traces of blood or other abnormalities.
  • Blood test, where a doctor may have a sample of blood drawn and sent to a laboratory to be checked for various chemicals and substances related to causes of incontinence.

Additional testing may include:

  • Postvoid residual (PVR) measurement. For this procedure, the patient urinates into a container that measures urine output. Then the doctor checks the amount of leftover urine in the bladder using a catheter or ultrasound test. A large amount of leftover urine in the bladder may mean an obstruction in the urinary tract or a problem with the bladder nerves or muscles.
  • Pelvic ultrasound. Ultrasound also may be used to view other parts of the urinary tract or genitals to check for abnormalities.
  • Stress test, in which the patient is asked to cough vigorously or bear down as the doctor watches for loss of urine.
  • Urodynamic testing, which measures pressure in the bladder when it’s at rest and when it’s filling. A doctor or nurse inserts a catheter into the urethra and bladder to fill the bladder with water. Meanwhile, a pressure monitor measures and records the pressure within the bladder. This helps measure bladder strength and urinary sphincter health.
  • Cystogram, or an X-ray of the bladder using a fluid containing a special dye that’s injected into the bladder.
  • Cystoscopy, in which a doctor checks for urinary tract abnormalities using a thin tube with a tiny lens inserted into the urethra.

*The above article is for information purposes only as it relates to possible litigation, and is not intended for  medical advice. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a doctor.

If you have a vaginal mesh implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

See more information about urinary incontinence here: