How a Bladder Diary Can Help You Control Bladder Symptoms

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  • Are You Experiencing Bladder Issues?

    Are You Experiencing Bladder Issues?

    Are you experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB)? Do you often feel a sudden urge to urinate? Is it difficult to sleep through the night? Do you fear having an accident while in public?

    Everyone has an urgent need to urinate now and then. But there’s a difference between consuming too much water occasionally and having a real health condition. Try keeping a daily bladder diary to help you and your doctor determine if you have OAB.

  • What Is a Bladder Diary?

    What Is a Bladder Diary?

    A bladder diary is much like a regular diary: it’s a place where you write down your daily experiences. The difference is, in a bladder diary, you focus exclusively on your symptoms.

    The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse provides an example of a bladder diary on their site. The American Urogynecologic Society also has one that you can download.

    Or, you can make your own. The diary is often divided into the following categories:

    • hours of the day
    • number of drinks you consume
    • number of times you urinate
    • accidental leaks
    • whether you had a powerful urge to go
    • your activities

  • How Do I Fill Out the Diary?

    How Do I Fill Out the Diary?

    To record a bladder diary, start by printing a copy and keeping it with you every day. When you have something to drink, write it down. Include a description of the drink and how much you consumed. When you go to the bathroom, write it down, and estimate about how much urine you passed.

    When it comes to leaks, write down the time of day they occurred, and about how much urine leaked. Answer “yes” or “no” to whether you had a strong urge to go.

  • Details, Details!

    Details, Details!

    Depending on the type of diary your doctor asks that you complete, you may also be asked to include other details about your symptoms. What were you doing when the leak occurred? You may find that leaking happens more often when you’re exercising, for example, or when you sneeze. Some diaries ask that you rate any urges you feel on a scale 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest urge to urinate.

    It’s important to be as detailed and meticulous as you can. The more details you can provide, the better picture you’ll create of what you’re experiencing.

  • How Long Do I Need to Record My Symptoms?

    How Long Do I Need to Record My Symptoms?

    Most doctors ask that you keep a daily bladder diary for three to four days. You should take the diary with you for your next appointment so that you and your doctor can review it together. This  will help give your doctor an accurate record of your symptoms, which can be extremely helpful in making a diagnosis.

  • A Diary Can Help You See Things More Clearly

    A Diary Can Help You See Things More Clearly

    A bladder diary can help you better understand what’s going on with your body. Maybe you’re going to the bathroom more often than you thought you were. Maybe the leakage is happening more frequently than you realized. Or, maybe you’re avoiding activities you used to enjoy because you fear having an accident.

    If you’ve been delaying a trip to the doctor, a diary can help motivate you to make that appointment.

  • A Diary Can Help During Treatment

    A Diary Can Help During Treatment

    A daily bladder diary can be a helpful tool for your course of treatment. If you’re diagnosed with OAB and start taking medications, it can help determine if your treatment is working.

    Keep a diary for another couple days after you begin your treatment, and then compare it with your original diary. This can help you know if you’re having fewer urges to urinate.

    You can use this information to talk to your doctor about other possible treatments.

  • Do Diaries Really Work?

    Do Diaries Really Work?

    A 2001 study evaluated the effectiveness of bladder diaries when diagnosing urinary incontinence in women. A total of 214 women ages 40 to 90 years kept a 14-day bladder diary where they recorded experiences of incontinence or leakage, and what they were doing at the time.

    The scientists concluded that a bladder diary consisting of seven days provided a stable and reliable measurement of the frequency of incontinence episodes.

  • What About E-Diaries?

    What About E-Diaries?

    You may feel a little out of date writing something down with pen and paper. Maybe you keep most of your records on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Researchers conducting a 2013 study considered this, and decided to test an electronic bladder diary.

    The researchers developed two different electronic diaries. The first consisted of a card with predefined slots read by an e-card reader. The second diary consisted of an e-diary on a hand-held touch screen device.

    Twenty-two patients were recruited to try the electronic diaries for three days. The majority of patients preferred the e-diary, and liked it just as well as a paper diary. Researchers concluded that the e-diary was user-friendly, and quicker and more accurate to analyze.

  • Start Today

    Start Today

    If you suspect that you may have bladder problems, you can start keeping your own diary today. If you have already been diagnosed and you’re not sure if your treatment is working, try keeping a diary to find out.

    Share the information with your doctor. A simple but effective tool, the daily bladder diary can help you regain control of your health and your life.

References:

  • Locher, JL, PS Goode, DL Roth, RL Worrell, and KL Burgio. "Reliability assessment of the bladder diary for urinary incontinence in older women.." J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 56.1 (2001): M32-5. PubMed-NCBI. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.
  • Mangera, A, et al. "Development of two electronic bladder diaries: A patient and healthcare professionals pilot study." Neurourol Urodyn. 2013.September 2 (2013): ePub. PubMed-NCBI. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.
  • "National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)." Daily Bladder Diary. N.p., 2 Sept. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/diary/index.aspx>.
  • "Take the Floor: Bladder Diary." Take the Floor: Bladder Diary. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://www.voicesforpfd.org/p/cm/ld/fid=60>.
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