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What is a Valsalva leak point pressure test?

Jill Rabin
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Valsalva leak point pressure (VLPP) is a reliable test that is easy to perform. It measures the lowest abdominal pressure required during a stress activity (such as coughing) that would cause the urethra to open and, therefore, leak. To perform this test, catheters are placed in the bladder and rectum. The bladder is filled with sterile water or saline to at least one-half its capacity. You’ll be asked to slowly cough or bear down until leakage is seen and measured by the cystometer. Pressure within the abdomen is measure by means of a small rectal balloon that measures pressure in the abdomen. The smallest increase in pressure that results in leakage is called the VLPP.

A normal urethra will not leak at any abdominal pressure. For purposes of reliability, this study is performed at least twice. If you leak during this test, you probably suffer from stress incontinence.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.