Using a Bladder Diary for Incontinence

August 02, 2013 2 min read

What is a bladder diary?

A bladder diary is essentially a daily record of your urination habits and activities that may have contributed to said habits. The diary should show:

  • when and how much you urinate
  • any urinary leakage you’ve experienced and what you were doing when it happened (e.g. running, biking, laughing)
  • sudden urges to go
  • how often you had to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom
  • type and volume of food and drink intake
  • any pain or problems experienced before, during, and after peeing (e.g. sudden urges, difficulty urinating, dribbling urine, feeling like your bladder is never empty, weak urine flow)
  • if applicable, how many bladder pads or other incontinence products you used

Other names for bladder diary include: bladder journal, voiding journal, and voiding diary.

How can a voiding diary help with my incontinence?

A voiding diary provides valuable information about your bladder control, and helps you and your doctor identify a pattern of your urination output and possibly, the cause of your incontinence problems. For example, your doctor will be able to tell if you’re not drinking enough fluids or if certain foods are irritating your bladder.

Based on the diary results, your doctor will have a better understanding of your symptoms and can develop a bladder retraining program or behavior modification program designed specifically for you and your needs.

How long should I keep the diary for?

You should document your bladder function for at least three days; however some doctors may want a 7-day record. Ask your doctor to make sure, and be sure to ask whether or not the days have to be consecutive or not.

How should I complete the diary?

  • You should begin and end the diary at the same times each day. For example, if you wake up at 6:30 a.m., your diary entry should start at that time and end at 6:30 a.m., the following morning.
  • When measuring the amount of urine voided, it would be helpful to use a collection device that provides the exact ounces or cc’s of output. You can also estimate in general terms, like small, medium or large.
  • Be as accurate as possible. The more information, the better your doctor will be able to access your situation.

What should my bladder diary look like?

Here’s an example:


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