We’ll send Ryan’s urine out today for culture. For once, not because we think he might have a urinary tract infection (at least we hope he doesn’t). This is in advance of next week’s appointment at Georgetown University for a battery of tests, collectively called urodynamics.
Urodynamic testing looks at how well the bladder, sphincters, and urethra are holding and releasing urine. Most urodynamic tests focus on the bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty steadily and completely. Urodynamic tests can also show whether the bladder is having involuntary contractions that cause urine leakage. One thing we are most interest in seeing is if Ryan is having bladder spasms, which could be a cause of his recurring UTIs. If so, the good news is that this is easily remedied with medication.
In the end, we might only know what isn’t the problem and not identify a source. Still, we will be closer to finding an answer. It’s really just a process of elimination (pun intended).
Probably more for my benefit than reader entertainment, I did some online research to see what’s involved. Here’s what I found that urodynamic testing includes:
- Uroflowmetry. Measurement of urine speed and volume.
- Post-void residual measurement. Amount of urine left in the bladder after urination.
- Cystometric test. Measures how much urine the bladder can hold.
- Leak point pressure measurement. Measures pressure at the point of leakage during a cystometric test.
- Pressure flow study. Measures the bladder pressure required to urinate and the flow rate a given pressure generates.
- Electromyography. Uses special sensors to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves in and around the bladder and the sphincters
- Video urodynamic tests. Takes pictures and videos of the bladder during filling and emptying
With some of these tests, Ryan won’t be able to do them as designed. For instance, we cannot ask him to pee on command or hold it in to check maximum volume. But we still can extrapolate this from other measurements. The results for simple tests — such as cystometry and uroflowmetry — are often available immediately. Results of other tests might take a few days to come back.
Plowing Through It
I know this is necessary. It has to be done. Getting to the bottom of his UTIs is paramount. But, I have to tell you, I am so sick-and-tired of the endless doctor appointments, ambulance rides, and hospital visits. It never ends!
Being a man, I instinctively hate anything medically related. But to authorize and watch my son go through it is too much sometimes. For me, yes… but so much more so for him.
Really! Sometimes it feels like I’m one blood test away from rebranding Ryan’s Rally: We Got This! to something like Ryan’s Rally: Not Again!