Diagnosing Bladder Disorders

If you’re experiencing bladder-related symptoms, your healthcare provider can run several tests to diagnose the problem. Explore common tests and exams used to diagnose a bladder disorder.


Learn how doctors diagnose bladder disorders.

If you’re experiencing incontinence, a weak urinary stream, straining or painful urination, or other bladder-related issues, it’s important to schedule a physical examination. This exam may include various tests for bladder disorders. Here’s what you can expect.

Your medical appointment

Diagnosing bladder disorders involves a complete urological evaluation. Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical examination and discuss your health history. He or she may also ask questions about your fluid intake and frequency of bathroom trips, any urine leakage, what medications you are taking, and your past medical history. Your healthcare provider and a variety of specialists may work together to arrive at a diagnosis.

Types of bladder disorder tests

Healthcare providers use several kinds of examinations and tests to diagnose different types of bladder conditions, including:

  • Urinalysis – an analysis of your urine to determine whether an infection is present, identify conditions like diabetes, and help your healthcare provider assess whether your kidneys are working properly
  • Ultrasound (sonography) – a scan that shows the shape and position of your urinary organs and other abdominal organs
  • Cystoscopy – an internal assessment of your bladder, urethra, or prostate using a small, rigid, or flexible instrument with a light and magnification lens
  • Urodynamic exam – a measurement of how the bladder, sphincters and urethra store and release urine
  • Cystometrography – an injection of fluids continuously through a catheter to measure any changes in your bladder pressure

Seek help promptly for bladder-related symptoms

Using the appropriate tests and examinations, your healthcare team can diagnose the cause of your symptoms. Once a cause is determined, they will devise a plan to treat or help you manage your condition.