It is not uncommon for women, as we age, to experience complications associated with urinary incontinence. For many women, the urological complication is progressive often leading to a decrease in regular daily activities and even attributing to embarrassment and emotional distress.
As a woman experiencing urinary incontinence it is important to understand the language and terminology that comes with this urological condition. Without a clear understanding, many women find they are confused as to what the direction of care will be and, unfortunately, are not as involved in making decisions about their care.
As part of your education and understanding of your urological disorder, there is a common phrase referred to as “post void residual”. Simply put, postvoid residual is the term that describes the amount of urine that may be left in your bladder after you have urinated. In many cases, for a woman who has suffered from bladder trauma or diabetes, postvoid residual is not uncommon. Because these conditions can lead to a weakening of the bladder muscles and, to some extent, nerve damage, after urinating you may still experience some urine retention which, ultimately, can lead to episodes of urinary incontinence.
To diagnose postvoid residual complications of the bladder, the urologist will use an ultrasound to examine the bladder to assess the amount of urine still immediately present after urinating. Additionally, some urologists may which to perform a catheter examination to remove the retained urine for measurement. Either of these diagnostic tools is effective at diagnosing postvoid residual.
Upon confirming your postvoid residual, the urologist will then want to determine the cause and origin of the complication. Blood work to assess such issues as blood glucose levels are quite common. In addition, the urologist may ask that you be examined by a gynecologist to ascertain the positioning of the uterus so as to ensure a complication, such as a prolapse, is not to blame.
Treating postvoid residual can be complex as many women who suffer from this urological complication will have some type of underlying cause and origin. If the urological condition is related to a diabetic complication, with nerve and muscle damage, controlling diabetes will be a major focus of care. If, however, the urological complication is associated with other underlying conditions, surgery may be indicated. Overall, many women find some relief with the use of pseudoephedrine found in most over-the-counter cold medications. Before pursing this treatment option, be sure to discuss your diagnosis and urological complication with a healthcare professional.
As with any health complication, the key to ensuring your diagnosis and recovery are effective lies in the early detection and intervention by a healthcare professional. When experiencing complications associated with urinary incontinence, visit with a urologist and ask him to evaluate your postvoid residuals as this may lead to further diagnosing complications of prolapse, diabetes or trauma to your bladder.