HOW TO FILL OUT BLADDER DIARY
Tracking Incontinence With a Bladder Diary
There are a lot of reasons you may develop incontinence. Keeping a diary of symptoms and habits can help you get to the root of the problem so you can treat your bladder-control issues accordingly.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically Reviewed by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
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According to the American Urological Association, some 10-13 million people in the United States experience urinary incontinence, the involuntary leaking of urine. Incontinence can be a mild problem with just a little urination when coughing or laughing, or it can be a debilitating and complete loss of bladder control. Although incontinence can happen to both men and women, about twice as many of those affected are female.
Bladder control depends on the nerves and muscles that control urination. In some cases, the muscles have become weak after being stretched in childbirth; in other cases, abnormal nerve function causes the bladder to contract unexpectedly. Overactive bladder is a condition in which abnormal nerve signals trigger the bladder to contract, causing sudden incontinence.
Treatment for incontinence may involve changing habits and schedules, doing special exercises to strengthen bladder control muscles, taking medications, or surgery. But before treatment can begin, your doctor needs to know exactly what type of incontinence you have. Types of incontinence include:
- Stress Incontinence:Leaking urine during physical activity
- Urge Incontinence:Leaking large amounts of urine unexpectedly
- Overactive bladder:Very frequent, sudden, and strong urges to urinate, with or without incontinence
- Overflow incontinence:Leaking small amounts of urine when your bladder is full
Incontinence may also be caused by not being able to get to a bathroom on time because of a disability or by a temporary problem like a urinary tract infection. To find out what kind of incontinence problem you have, one of the first things your doctor may do is ask you to start a bladder diary.
Keeping a Bladder Diary
Because bladder control problems may develop slowly over time, many people are not aware that they have started to urinate more frequently or that they have changed their daily habits to avoid incontinence.
A bladder diary can help you and your doctor tell how severe the problem is and may point the way toward a treatment plan. You may be asked to keep a diary for a few days or for a week before a diagnosis is made. A bladder diary may also help after treatment has started to track your progress.
Here is what you should include in your diary:
- Date and time.Begin when you wake up in the morning and record each time you urinate normally and each time you have an episode of incontinence.
- Amount of urine.If you urinate normally, record the amount in cubic centimeters (cc). You can get a special pan that fits over the toilet with cc measurements on the side.
- Leakage amount.If you leak urine before making it to the bathroom, record the leakage as damp, soaked, or emptied.
- Activity during leak.If you have a leak, record what kind of activity you were doing at the time of the leak, such as if you were coughing or laughing.
- Symptoms before urination.Whether it was a leak or a typical urination in the bathroom, record what type of symptoms you had, if any, before urination.
- Fluid intake.Record in ounces how much and what types of fluids you take in during the day, along with the time you drank each beverage.
Having an overactive bladder or another cause of incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of. One out of four women over the age of 18 experience some bladder control issues. Unfortunately, according to some statistics, the average person may wait almost seven years before discussing their incontinence with a doctor. Don’t put off talking to your physician. He may be able to help you control the symptoms — but only if he knows they exist.
Video: Urinary Incontinence In Women And What To Do
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