A voiding cystourethrogram is an x-ray examination of the bladder and urethra that is performed while the bladder is emptying.
Cystourethrogram - voiding
How the test is performed
The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in a health care provider's office by an x-ray technician.
You will lie on your back on the x-ray table. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter will be gently inserted into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and passed into the bladder.
Contrast dye flows through the catheter into the bladder. This dye helps the bladder show up better on x-ray images.
The x-rays are taken from various angles while the bladder is full of contrast dye. The catheter is removed so that you can urinate. Images are taken while you empty your bladder.
How to prepare for the test
You must sign a consent form. You will be given a gown to wear.
Remove all jewelry before the test. Inform the health care provider if you are:
- Allergic to any medications
- Allergic to x-ray contrast material
How the test will feel
You may feel some discomfort when the catheter is placed and while your bladder is full.
Why the test is performed
This test may be done to diagnose the cause of urinary tract infections, especially in children who have had more than one urinary tract or bladder infection.
It is also used to diagnose and evaluate:
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Present at birth (congenital) problems with the bladder or urethra
- Urethral stricture (in males)
- Urinary reflux from the bladder up into the kidney
The bladder and urethra will be normal in size and function.
What abnormal results mean
Abnormal results may indicate the following:
- Large prostate gland
- Narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture)
- Neurogenic bladder (when the bladder does not empty properly due to a brain or nerve problem)
- Pouch-like sacs (diverticula) on the walls of the bladder or urethra
- Urinary reflux nephropathy
What the risks are
You may have some discomfort when urinating after this test because of irritation from the catheter.
You may have bladder spasms after this test, which may be a sign of an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Contact your health care provider if bothersome bladder spasms occur.
Bhayani SB, Siegel CL. Urinary tract imaging: Basic principles. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 4.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. ©1997-2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Ice Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries
- 2. Can Inactivity Act Like a Disease?
- 3. Kale Snack Recipe for Diabetics
- 4. How Running Affects Arthritis
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.