What is Uroflowmetry?
Uroflowmetry, also known as a urinary flow rate test, is a non-invasive procedure used to measure the flow of urine.
It is recorded throughout urination and aims to measure “speed” and the quantity of urine expelled in millimetres per second.
By measuring the flow of urine, it is possible to assess the time a person takes to begin urinating, the “strength” of the jet of urine, the volume of urine expelled and the time urination takes.
Importance of Uroflowmetry
This is a very important test for the study of several pathologies. It provides useful information in cases of male urinary incontinence, female urinary incontinence, benign prostate hyperplasia, prostate cancer and urethral strictures.
In general, it helps to reveal patients with problems urinating or emptying their bladder, slow urination, pelvic pains, urinary incontinence and an increase in trips to the toilet.
In these situations, uroflowmetry is a very simple, practical and useful complementary diagnostic tool for detecting the associated causes.
How is the Uroflowmetry Test Procedure Performed?
To perform the uroflowmetry test, the patient collects their urine in a uroflowmeter – a specific device with a funnel and a container.
The patient is requested to urinate as normally as possible without applying a lot of force or pressure and without trying to manipulate the speed or flow.
Via the uroflowmeter, it is then possible to record the volume of urine, the flow rate, the maximum and average flow and the total time until the bladder is empty. This allows an assessment to be made of any difference to the normal values.
The urologist interprets the test report based on the values recorded, the patient’s clinical history and the result of any other complementary tests conducted.
Analysis of the Uroflowmetry Results
The test assesses multiple parameters: maximum flow rate (the most important finding), average flow rate, voiding time, curve morphology and the volume of urine, among others.
All are important and must be assessed together.
When the maximum flow rate is low, it may mean that the prostate is enlarged, the urethra is obstructed or the bladder is not contracting as normal.
If the flow is higher than average, it may mean that the bladder has good musculature and contracts well (in young people, for example), that the structures around the urethra are “weaker” and more lax or that urinary incontinence issues exist.
The curve morphology also indicates different illnesses and helps to guide the diagnosis and to clarify the cause of a certain clinical situation.
Dr. José Santos Dias
Clinical Director of the Instituto da Próstata
- Bacherlor's Degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lisbon
- Specialist in Urology
- Fellow of the European Board of Urology
- Autor dos livros "Tudo o que sempre quis saber Sobre Próstata", "Urologia fundamental na Prática Clínica", "Urologia em 10 minutos","Casos Clínicos de Urologia" e "Protocolos de Urgência em Urologia"
FAQS about Uroflowmetry
What is uroflowmetry?
Is the test painful?
Is the uroflowmetry test useful to assess prostate pathologies?
- DIAS, José Santos, Urologia Fundamental: na prática clínica. Lisbon: Lidel - Edições Técnicas, Lda, 2010.
- What is Uroflowmetry?
- Performing a Maximum Urinary Flow Rate Test (Uroflowmetry)