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
- Duralde ER, et al. Bridging the gap: Determinants of undiagnosed or untreated urinary incontinence in women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In press. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- Lukacz ES. Evaluation of women with urinary incontinence. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- What I need to know about bladder control for women. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/urinary-incontinence-women/Pages/ez.aspx. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- Qaseem A, et al. Nonsurgical management of urinary incontinence in women: A clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014;161:429.
- Lukacz ES. Treatment of women with urinary incontinence. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- Urinary incontinence fact sheet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/urinary-incontinence.html. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- Wood LN, et al. Urinary incontinence in women. The BMJ. 2014;349:g4531.
- Wein AJ, et al., eds. Evaluation and Management of Women with Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Prolapse. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- Lightning DL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 20, 2016.