Many medical conditions can affect urine flow, either as the primary effect or as a secondary symptom. That’s especially true for men, because prostate problems often affect urination. Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), for example, is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that results in a weak urine stream. BPH is usually treatable with medication, but doctors need a way to measure a treatment’s efficacy. Jerry Smith developed Uroflow to monitor urine streams and track the progress of BPH treatment.
When one’s prostate enlarges, it can both put pressure on the bladder and restrict the urethra. That results in a frequent feeling that one needs to urinate, but also a weak stream. When the enlargement isn’t related to cancer, it falls under the BPH umbrella. A key to diagnosing BPH is a urinary flow test, which detects stream strength and urine volume. Follow-up urinary flow tests help doctors monitor treatment. But typical equipment for urinary flow testing is expensive and requires that the patient visit their doctor. Uroflow is inexpensive to build, which would let patients perform urinary flow tests at home.
Uroflow works by measuring the weight of a cup as the patient urinates. The device can determine the total volume based on the weight and it can calculate flow by measuring the weight over time. The Uroflow device consists of a cheap food scale and an Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 board. The Arduino monitors the output from the scale and sends the results to a PC. Custom software interprets the results and performs the calculations, then displays the data in a graph. Patients can compare many graphs collected over the course of their treatment to evaluate the efficacy of medications.