What is postvoid residual?
About 70 percent of the adult population in the United States may have bladder health problems, such as postvoid residual (PVR), at some point in their life. PVR is the amount of urine that remains in your bladder after you urinate.
The bladder is made of muscles and usually squeezes all of the urine out. Having urine left in the bladder could be caused by:
- An enlarged prostate
- A narrowing in the urethra (a thin tube through which urine leaves your body
- A blockage in any part of the urinary tract
- Bladder damage
- Neurological problems
- Side effect of medications like antidepressants, anticholinergics, and/or decongestants
Diagnosis and Tests
How is postvoid residual measured?
After a complete physical examination, your doctor could order one of two tests to measure how much urine is left in the bladder: a bladder ultrasound or a bladder catheterization (which is rarely done).
A bladder ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure that can determine the amount of the leftover urine in your bladder. A trained technician will use sound waves to show images of the bladder and urine left in the bladder. The test is generally completed in a doctor’s office. There are no risks with bladder ultrasounds.
Management and Treatment
What happens after the postvoid residual measurement?
The PVR urine test may show that your bladder does not void (empty) completely. These results will help your doctor decide what to do next.
How can I prevent problems with the urinary tract?
Tips for a healthy bladder include the following:
- If you are a smoker, you MUST quit.
- Lose weight (if you are overweight), and then maintain a normal weight.
- Exercise between 3 to 4 times per week for about 30 minutes per session.
- Follow a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, and fiber.
- Stay hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 cups of fluids per day.
- Do not strain when you urinate or move your bowels. (Fiber will help you avoid being constipated.)
- Limit alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine, as they may make it more difficult to empty your bladder.
- Call your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your urination habits.