Doctors use uroflowmetry to test the amount of urine and the
speed of urination. This test is called a “uroflow test.” It can help your
doctor identify the cause of either slow urination or difficulty urinating.
is a uroflow test done?
Your doctor may recommend a uroflow test if you have slow
urination or difficulty urinating. They may also use the test to determine how
well your urinary tract and sphincter muscle are functioning. The sphincter
muscle is a circular muscle that closes tightly around the bladder opening. It
helps to prevent urine leakage.
Results from the test can help your doctor determine how
well your bladder and sphincter are functioning. It can also be used to test
for obstructions in the normal flow of urine. By measuring the average and
maximum rates of your urine flow, the test can estimate the severity of any
blockage or obstruction. It can also help identify other urinary problems, such
as a weak bladder or an enlarged prostate.
Certain conditions can affect your normal urine flow. These conditions
- benign prostatic hypertrophy, or enlargement of
the prostate gland, which can block the urethra completely
- bladder cancer
- prostate cancer
- a urinary blockage
- neurogenic bladder dysfunction, or trouble with
the bladder due to a nervous system problem such as spinal cord tumor or injury
- frequent urinary tract infections
for a uroflow test
You’ll need to give a urine sample. It may seem awkward or
uncomfortable, but you shouldn’t experience any physical discomfort during the
Be sure to arrive at your doctor’s office with a full
bladder. Ideally, you shouldn’t urinate for several hours before the appointment.
You should drink plenty of liquids to make sure you have enough urine for the
Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or think you may be. You
should also tell your doctor about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and any
supplements you’re taking. Certain medications can interfere with bladder
Unlike traditional urine tests in which you urinate into a
cup, you’ll need to urinate into a funnel-shaped device or a special toilet for
the uroflow test. It’s important that you don’t put any toilet tissue on or in
the toilet or device.
It’s best to urinate as you normally would, without
attempting to manipulate the speed or flow in any way. An electronic
uroflowmeter hooked up to the funnel or toilet measures the speed and quantity
of urination. You must refrain from urinating until the machine is turned on.
The uroflowmeter calculates the amount of urine you pass, the
flow rate in seconds, and the length of time it takes to empty your bladder
completely. It will record this information on a chart. During normal
urination, your initial urine stream begins slowly, speeds up, and then finally
slows down again. The uroflowmeter can record any differences from the norm to
help your doctor make a diagnosis.
When you’re finished urinating, the machine will report your
results. Your doctor will then discuss the findings with you. Depending on your
specific case, you may need to perform the urine test on several consecutive
the results of your uroflow test
Your doctor will use the results to determine your peak flow
rate, or “Qmax.” Doctors generally use the peak flow rate to determine the
severity of any blockage or obstruction.
A decrease in urine flow may suggest you have a blockage in
the urethra or weak bladder muscles.
An increase in urine flow may suggest you have weakness in
the muscles that help control the flow of urine. This may also be a sign of
After testing the flow of urine, your doctor will take your individual
situation and symptoms into account before they develop a treatment plan. You
should discuss the results of your test with your doctor. They can help you
determine if treatment is necessary and what options you have if you do need
treatment. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any problems urinating.
It could be the sign of a more serious health condition.