Urine Flow Study

Basic Facts

  • Urine flow study, also known as uroflowmetry, is the noninvasive measurement of the volume of urine expelled from the bladder per second.
  • The results of this test are immediate, but do not provide a definite diagnosis.
  • This test can indicate the likelihood of a urinary obstruction or a muscular problem in the bladder.

A urine flow study measures the amount of urine a person expels in a certain period of time, his or her bladder pressure, and the activity of the muscles used to urinate.
The results of a urine flow study help a physician understand:

  • How well or poorly a patient is urinating;
  • If an obstruction or abnormality exists in the urinary tract;
  • The severity of any obstruction or abnormality; and
  • How well a patient is responding to any urinary treatment.

Urine flow studies help to identify the following health conditions:

  • Incontinence;
  • An enlarged prostate; and
  • Urethral stricture.

The results of a urine flow study are not used to make a definitive diagnosis.


The urologist will instruct the patient not to urinate for a few hours before the test, and to drink enough fluids to develop an urge to urinate.

The patient should inform the physician about any medications that he or she is taking.


The patient urinates without straining into a special toilet or a uroflowmeter device that will collect the urine. The simplest type of flowmeter electronically measures urine output using the force of gravity. The device consists of a funnel on top of a measuring cup, which is connected to an electronic recording device that presents information in graph form. While the patient is urinating, the physician, nurse, or assistant may time the patient with a stopwatch to determine the patient’s average flow rate.

Urine flow results are calculated immediately following the test. The test takes approximately 15 minutes.

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