A urine flow test calculates the speed of urine flow over time. It may be used to check how the bladder and sphincter are working.
The bladder is part of the urinary tract. It’s a hollow muscular organ that relaxes and expands to store urine. It then contracts and flattens to empty urine through the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body (urethra).
The sphincter muscle is a circular muscle. It closes tightly, like a rubber band, around the bladder opening. This helps keep urine from leaking.
For this test, you will urinate into a special funnel that is connected to a measuring instrument. The instrument calculates the amount of urine, rate of flow in seconds, and the length of time until all urine has been passed. This information helps evaluate how well the lower urinary tract is working. It also helps figure out if there is a blockage of normal urine outflow.
During normal urination, the initial urine stream starts slowly, but speeds up until the bladder is nearly empty. The urine flow then slows again until the bladder is empty. In people with a urinary tract blockage, this pattern of flow is changed, and increases and decreases more gradually. The urine flow test graphs this information, taking into account your gender and age.
A urine flow test is a quick, simple test that gives useful feedback about the health of the lower urinary tract. It is often used to see if there is blockage to normal urine outflow. Medical conditions that can change normal urine flow include:
There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend a urine flow test.
A urine flow test is safe for most people. The test is usually done in a private bathroom or procedure area.
There may be risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with the accuracy of a urine flow test. These factors include:
Based on your medical condition, your healthcare provider may request other specific preparation.
A urine flow test may be done on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in the hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, a urine flow test follows this process:
Generally, there is no special type of care after a urine flow test.
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your situation.