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I posted the following in another thread, but thought I should create a new thread so that those who are interested might benefit. Many researchers and urologists consider the maximum urination flowrate (QMax) to be an important measure of the amount of bladder outlet obstruction (BOO). Usually this flowrate is measured in a urologist's office, but can also be "roughly" measured using a cheap device you can purchase on Amazon. This allows you to get a quantitative idea of the max flowrate in the comfort of your own home. You can measure it as often as you like. Here's what I posted in the other thread:
So I received the $11 urine flowmeter that I purchased from Amazon (MDTI Uflow meter). Their website contains information on how the unit works. The unit has a funnel on top and three narrow chambers below it ultimately ending in an orifice. When urine flows through the device it backs up into one of the chambers because the orifice constricts the outflow. While urinating, the urine level in one of the chambers will at some point remain steady for some amount of time (depends on how much is urinated). The instructions say that when the urine level is constant (steady), the person should note which chamber that occurs in. If the level is constant in the lowest chamber (closest to the orifice) the peak flow rate is less than 10 ml/sec. In the middle chamber the peak flow rate is between 10 and 15 ml/sec. In the top chamber the peak flow rate is greater than 15 ml/sec. The instructions say to lean forward while you are urinating in order to see where the level is in the device. I've found it is easier to lean a bit to the side and look at the urine level from the side. The instructions say that "if most of your measurements are in the top of the tube (> 15ml/sec), your urine flow is acceptable. If most of your measurements are in the bottom or middle of the tube, you should seek advice from your doctor/nurse".
While this is a coarse instrument, it does give you a rough estimate of the peak flow rate. Many urologists and researchers believe that measuring the peak flow rate is a proxy for the level of constriction in the urinary tract. This makes sense to me.
While the chambers do seem to only provide an approximate value, it seems to me that if the level is in the middle chamber (10 to 15 ml/sec), then where that levei is in that chamber might allow for interpolations. For example, if the steady level of urine is halfway up the middle chamber, then the peak flow rate is probably halfway between 10 and 15 ml/sec. This interpolation probably cannot be made in the top chamber (> 15 ml/sec). For the bottom chamber one would have to assume that a level right at the orifice results in a flow of 0 ml/sec in order to interpolate.
At any rate it is a cheap, easy-to-use instrument for home use. It might be useful for watching worsening or easing of LUTS symptoms.
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