What happens during electromyography (EMG) for bladder problems?

In electromyography (EMG), which can be part of urodynamic testing for urinary problems, small electrode patches are placed in the crotch area to pick up electrical current that is created when the pelvic floor muscles contract. Called a surface EMG, this test may help determine whether the activities of the bladder and urethra are coordinated with each other.

If your doctor suspects that the nerves to your urinary sphincter are seriously damaged, or that the sphincter muscle is responding inappropriately to nerve signals, he or she may insert a thin needle electrode into the muscle of the urethra to perform a more accurate EMG. Because most people find this painful, it is not done routinely and is often performed by a neurologist.

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