What is The UroCuff ™ Test?
If you’re like many men over 50, you’ve experienced one or more of the following urinary symptoms: 1) an uncontrollable urge to urinate, 2) weak stream, 3) painful urination, 4) leakage, 5) waking up frequently at night to urinate, or 6) a feeling that you haven’t completely emptied your bladder after urinating. These lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are often associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and other disorders of the prostate or bladder. The most commonly prescribed diagnostic tests for symptoms such as yours are often insufficient to determine the underlying condition or too painful to consider.
But things have changed for the better! With the simple and painless UroCuff Test, your doctor has access to better answers about the causes of your symptoms. The UroCuff is the ONLY non-invasive diagnostic test for male urinary disorders (LUTS). This patented technology allows your urologist to collect important, well-established physiologic data without the need for painful and cumbersome catheterization. And unlike traditional flow rate tests, the UroCuff Test uses an external penile cuff (resembling a blood pressure cuff) to measure your bladder pressure while also calculating your flow rate. With this pressure and flow rate information your urologist will have better answers for developing a treatment plan based on testing of your body – not just a description of your symptoms. The UroCuff can also be repeated every 6 months, so that together and your doctor can assess the effectiveness of the treatment as well as any changes in your condition.
How It Works
The UroCuff™ Test must be performed when you have a full bladder. When you arrive and are ready for your test, you will be brought to a private room. A small cuff, similar to a blood pressure cuff, will be placed around your penis, and surface electrodes may also be placed on your abdomen and/ or perineum. You will be asked to void (urinate) into a portable commode. While you’re voiding the cuff will slowly inflate until the cuff pressure stops the urine flow. The cuff will then deflate, and you will begin voiding again. The inflation intervals will continue until you’ve emptied your bladder completely. The cuff and electrodes will then be removed. Once the test is complete, a report prints out which summarizes your bladder pressure and urine flow rate data.
For more details about the UroCuff Test, and to view an animation showing how the test is performed, please take a few minutes to view the video to the left.
Preparing for the Test
It is important that you arrive at your doctor’s office with a comfortably full bladder. You should feel something like the “Need to go” face on the Urgency Scale shown here. If you need to print out the “How to prepare for a successful UroCuff Test” instructions that your doctor provided, click on the link provided to the right. You can also visualize the flow of your day once you arrive at the doctor’s office by clicking on the “UroCuff Test Patient Flow Chart.”
Simply follow the instructions provided below to ensure that your time in the doctor’s office goes smoothly.
- Drink 16 oz. of water 1 hour before your appointment
- Arrive at doctor’s office 10 minutes before your appointment
- Arrive with a comfortably full bladder as shown by the orange face on Urgency Scale.
- Check in at the reception desk. Let them know that you are scheduled for a UroCuff Test and communicate how full your bladder is.
- DO NOT go to the bathroom before your test (you need a full bladder)
- Wait in the waiting room for a clinician to collect you for your UroCuff test.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most patients referred for UroCuff testing have complaints of frequent urination or difficulty urinating, though there are other applications.
UroCuff Testing allows your doctor to evaluate how your bladder and the bladder outlet are functioning. With this information, your doctor will better understand your specific bladder health which will help in choosing a treatment plan that is best for you.
The test usually takes between 5 to 10 minutes.
Yes – bladder testing does not require that you miss any doses of your prescribed medication. If you are already taking medication to treat a urinary problem, your doctor may instruct you to stop these before the test.
For most patients, the test is not uncomfortable. Some patients may experience mild discomfort while the cuff is inflating.
The UroCuff test must be performed when you have a full bladder. If possible, arrive at the doctor’s office the day of your test with a comfortably full bladder. Please follow the 6 steps provided above, and print out the “How to prepare for a successful UroCuff Test” instructions that your doctor provided if necessary.
When you arrive and are ready for your test, you will be brought to a private room. A small cuff, similar to a blood pressure cuff, will be placed around your penis, and surface electrodes may also be placed on your abdomen and/ or perineum. You will be asked to void (urinate) into a portable commode, or toilet. While you’re voiding, the cuff will slowly inflate until the cuff pressure stops the urine flow. The cuff will then deflate and you will begin voiding again. The inflation intervals will continue until you’ve emptied your bladder completely. The cuff and electrodes will then be removed.
Your doctor will review your test results and discuss treatment options with you.
Why do I need the UroCuff Test?
If you are suffering from any of the male urinary (LUTS) symptoms listed above, it is important to see a urologist for diagnosis and treatment. Bladder Outlet Obstruction and Low Bladder Contractility are progressive conditions associated with LUTS, and symptoms typically worsen over time. If left untreated, you risk developing urinary retention (the lack of ability to urinate), which can lead to damage to the kidneys (hydronephrosis, pyonephrosis) and bladder, infection, kidney failure, bladder atrophy (atonic bladder), and sepsis.
There are a variety of treatment options available including: watchful waiting, prescription medication, minimally invasive treatments, and surgical procedures. With the UroCuff Test results, your urologist will have better answers to the question, “What course of treatment should we pursue?”
Also, if you’ve already seen your doctor for urinary symptoms and have been prescribed a BPH medication, ask yourself, “Have I been fully diagnosed?” Accurate diagnoses cannot always be developed merely from the symptoms you describe for your doctor. You deserve the better answers about your symptoms that are available through the UroCuff Test.
Ask your urologist about The UroCuff™ Test. Print out basic information for your doctor here.
Anatomy of Urinary System
The bladder is an elastic organ that collects urine excreted by the kidneys before disposal by urination. Urine enters the bladder via the ureters and exits via the urethra. In the male anatomy, the urethra passes through the prostate, which is an exocrine (excretion) gland of the male reproductive system. In order to urinate, two things must happen. The detrusor muscle (a smooth muscle found in the wall of the bladder) must contract the bladder to squeeze the urine from the bladder and the external urethral sphincter muscle must relax to allow urine to exit the bladder via the urethra.
There are several reasons why you might experience voiding difficulties. Two common reasons are:
(1) Bladder Outlet Obstruction and
(2) Low Bladder Contractility.
When the prostate is enlarged or swollen, it constricts the urethra, narrowing the passageway of the urine out of the body, and impedes the urine. This is known as Bladder Outlet Obstruction (BOO).
Common symptoms for both BOO and Low Bladder Contractility are:
- Dysuria (painful urination)
- Nocturia (the need to get up in the night to urinate)
- Poor Stream
- Hesitancy (a delay between trying to urinate and the flow actually beginning)
- Terminal dribbling
- Incomplete voiding (urine still remaining in bladder)
- Overflow incontinence (involuntary release of urine from an overly fully bladder, often in the absence of any urge to urinate)
Symptoms related to storing and voiding urine are known as Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS).