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Trial of void—information for women and carers

This brochure will explain the importance of a trial of void and how it is done. If there is anything that you are not sure of after reading this please ask your nurse who will answer any questions that you may have.

Commonly used terms

Void—to pass urine.

Residual—amount of urine left in your bladder after voiding.

Why do I have a catheter?

A catheter is in place for several reasons. There may be swelling preventing the bladder from working properly; it may be necessary to rest the bladder so healing can occur or your surgery prevents you from being able to get out of bed to pass urine.

What is a trial of void?

When you have had surgery near your bladder it is important to monitor the way it is working after your catheter has been removed. Sometimes after passing urine, large amounts can still remain in your bladder. This is very common after such surgery and usually resolves in a very short time.

Each time you pass urine it is important for your nurse to measure the amount and then scan your bladder using an ultrasound device. This is called “trial of void” and is done to ensure your bladder is emptying sufficiently.

What can you do to help your trial of void?

  • Ensure you drink adequate fluid. A normal amount most people should drink is one to two litres per day.
  • To measure your urine it is important to pass urine into a pan. Once you have passed urine notify your nurse so she can measure it and scan your bladder to check the amount of urine remaining.
  • Notify the staff if you are having pain or difficulty passing urine.

What is a double and triple void?

After you have tried to pass urine, if there is a large amount of urine left in your bladder, you will be asked to pass urine again. This can be repeated two to three times.

What happens next?

When we measure that you are passing an adequate amount of urine and there is a minimal amount remaining in your bladder we no longer need to monitor your bladder function.

If the amount of urine left in your bladder continues to be large, the team will advise you what to do next. This may include:

  • continuing with voiding, measuring and monitoring
  • a catheter will be re-inserted for a period of time and on removal you will begin another trial-of-void
  • being taught how to empty your bladder yourself with a catheter.


GMCT Urology Network—Nursing, Trial of Void—Hospital Guidelines, GMCT Urology Network—Nursing, Department of Health, New South Wales Government, December, 2008

Franco, A V et al “Evaluation of the Impact of the Transobturator Tape Procedure on Female voiding Function Sandra Wyhtock “Post—Operative Retention”, A presentation by Elder Care Program, Providence Health Care, Feb, 2006

Midwife and continence Advisor, Trial of void, Urogynaecology Pelvic Floor Service, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia

Wheeler T L, Richter H E et al “ Predictors of Success with Postoperative Voiding Trial After a Mid Urethral Sling Procedure” Journal of Urology, Feb, 2008 179 (2) 600-4, Epub, Dec 21, 2007

Diane K Newman, “Using the Bladder Scan for Bladder Volume Assessment”, Lippincott’s Nursing Drug Guide, Philadelphia, Lippincott-Raveni, 1997

Joseph Novi et al “Timing of Postoperative Voiding Trial after Anti-Incontinence Procedures” Journal of Pelvic Medicine and Surgery, 10 (1) 37-38, Jan/Feb, 2004

King Edwards Memorial Hospital: Women’s & Children’s Health Services “Management of the Bladder and Urinary Drainage Apparatus”, Clinical Guidelines Section A: Guidelines Relevant to Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Sept 2005, Perth, Western Australia

Contact details

For all general enquiries contact reception on 07 3163 1918.

Mater Mothers’ Hospital
Raymond Terrace
South Brisbane Qld 4101

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430162
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 19/1/2014
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