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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 worry about having an accident while in public?

    Everyone has an urgent need to urinate now and then. But there’s a difference between urgency caused by consuming too much fluid 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 a place where you write down your daily urinary habits.

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

    Or, you can make your own. This type of diary is often includes 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?

    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.

    If you experience urinary leaking, write down the time of day the leaks occurred and about how much urine leaked. Answer “yes” or “no” to whether you had a strong urge to urinate.

  • Include details

    Include details

    Depending on the type of diary your doctor asks you to complete, you may need 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 as you can so that you and your doctor can understand 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 people to keep a daily bladder diary for three to four days. You should take the diary with you to your next appointment so that you and your doctor can review it together. This will help give them 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 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 of 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 work?

    Do diaries work?

    Researchers in a study published in the Journals of Gerontology evaluated the effectiveness of bladder diaries when diagnosing urinary incontinence in women. A total of 214 women ages 40 to 90 years old 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 seven-day bladder diary provided a stable and reliable measurement of the frequency of incontinence episodes.

  • What about electronic diaries?

    What about electronic diaries?

    Maybe you keep most of your records on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Researchers conducting a study published in the journal Neurourology and Urodynamics considered this, and they 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 handheld, touch-screen device.

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

  • Start today

    Start today

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

    Share the information with your doctor. The daily bladder diary is a simple but effective tool that can help you regain control of your health and your life.