To get a diagnosis of overactive bladder, your doctor starts with a complete health history to learn about other urinary conditions you’ve had in the past and when the problem started. Questions your doctor may ask about your overactive bladder include:
- How often do you urinate?
- How often do you leak urine, and how severely?
- Do you feel any pain or discomfort while urinating?
- For how long has the urge or urinary incontinence been occurring?
- What medications are you taking?
- Have you had any recent surgery or illnesses?
Keeping a voiding diary at home can help you answer these questions and help with an overactive bladder diagnosis. Each day, write down how much you drink, when you urinate, how much you urinate each time, and whether you ever feel an urgent need to go.
Your doctor will then examine your abdomen, genitals and rectum. You might also be given a neurological exam to look for problems in your nervous system that could affect your ability to urinate.
There are also a number of tests that may be performed to diagnose overactive bladder, including:
- Urinalysis or urine sample
- Bladder stress test to find out if you are leaking urine
- Cystoscopy to look for cysts and growths in the bladder
- Urodynamic testing
- Voiding cystourethrogram to identify structural problems in the bladder and urethra
These tests can help diagnose whether your condition has something to do with an infection or other illness, a blockage or poorly functioning bladder muscles. Knowing the cause of your overactive bladder can help your doctor decide on the right treatment for you.