A bladder diary may help manage incontinence, bladder leaks. A bladder diary is where you document your urinary habits. For example, you would document when you went to the bathroom, what you ate or drank prior to urination, any accidents you may have had, your daily activities, and your urges to urinate.
A bladder diary then becomes a useful reference point to uncover possible patterns that may emerge. For example, if you drink two glasses of water and don’t urinate, but when you drink three you do, you will learn your water limit, so you can then schedule when you should drink water.
You can also develop a possible urination schedule so that you can work your way holding in and prolonging the waiting period in-between bathroom breaks. For example, if you regularly go to the bathroom every 25 minutes, you know that at the 25-minute mark you can start working on holding in your urine to gain better control.
If you suffer from incontinence and are interested in learning how a bladder diary can improve your condition, read on to uncover how to use a bladder diary and how it can benefit you.
How to fill out a bladder diary for incontinence
To begin, you will want to use a lined notebook to keep everything organized. Begin each page with the date. Every time you drink something, write it down, noting the time and the amount consumed. Every time you use the bathroom, document that as well with the time and an estimation of how much urine was released.
When you experience a urinary leak, write that down along with the time when it occurred and roughly how much urine leaked. You will also want to accompany that with a yes or no comment to whether you had a strong urge to urinate when the leak occurred.
Additional symptoms should be documented in your bladder diary, too, such as what activity you were doing and your urges rated on a scale of one to 10. Basically, it’s important to be as detailed as possible so you and your doctor can have a clear picture on what is going on with your bladder.
If you think that keeping a bladder diary is tedious, don’t fret. Many patients don’t actually keep logging their urination behaviors for too long. It depends on what your doctor suggests, but four days to a week is typically enough to uncover possible patterns.
To get started, here is an example of a bladder diary page that you can replicate.
Bladder diary sample
|Day & Time||Amount of urine passed||Did you feel an urge to go?||Leakage episodes||Bowel function check||Notes|
|Bathroom visits, any leakage episode||Yes/No
Urgency 1-10 (10 being severe)
|Small/ medium/ large
|Record when bowel movements passed||when you urinate or leakage happened (e.g., “when I arrived home and put the key in the door”, “when I was out walking …”, “didn’t feel like I emptied”, “leaked before I got to the toilet”, etc.
List any drinks or foods you suspect might be irritating the bladderInclude comments about your diet, digestion, etc.
How do bladder diaries help manage incontinence?
A bladder diary can be useful in better managing your incontinence as it gives you an overview of your bladder activity. Maybe you were unaware of how often you were going to the bathroom prior to journaling. Or maybe you have been avoiding certain activities out of fear of leaks. By documenting your symptoms, you can gain a better perspective into your bladder health. Furthermore, a bladder diary helps you doctor adjust your treatment and make more informed recommendations.
As mentioned, bladder diaries do not have to become part of your life. You simply need a few days of information in order to gain insight on your bladder.