Bladder diary: A detailed symptom record

Before your visit, ask your doctor's office for a bladder diary and how to use it so that you can track information for several days in a row.

A bladder diary is a detailed, day-to-day record of your symptoms and other information related to your urinary habits. It can help you and your doctor determine the causes of bladder control problems and the most effective treatments.

To figure out how much urine you pass, you can use any collection device that allows you to measure ounces or milliliters.

Medical history review

Your visit will be more productive if you provide a good medical history. Make a list of:

  • Any surgeries, childbirths, illnesses, injuries and medical procedures, along with approximate dates
  • Current health problems, such as diabetes or any condition that affects your ability to walk or rise rapidly to a standing position
  • Past and current problems with your urinary system
  • Medications you're taking, including each drug's brand or generic name, dosage, when you take it, and what you take it for

Medications can be associated with bladder control problems, so list everything — prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements. If you're not sure whether something counts as a medication, put it on the list.

What to expect from treatment

As a first step, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to "train" your bladder, such as performing pelvic-strengthening exercises (Kegel exercises) and following a schedule for when you drink fluids and use the bathroom.

For some women, medications help. For others, surgery provides effect treatment. But, both medications and surgery have side effects you'll want to discuss with your doctor before deciding on these treatment options. What's best for you depends on the type and severity of your bladder control problem.

Your bladder control problems may significantly improve after treatment. Any improvement, however, counts as a success, as long as it helps you to do what you like and enhances your quality of life.

Feb. 06, 2016 See more In-depth