Bladder diary: A detailed symptom record

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

To determine the amount of urine you pass, you can use any collection device that allows you to measure ounces or milliliters. There are special measuring devices that fit over the toilet rim, but any measuring cup will do.

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

Treatments for bladder control problems start with learning how to improve your bladder symptoms and typically include exercises. Some people will need medications, while others might need surgery. What's best for you depends on the type and severity of your bladder control problem — nearly all women can be helped through some form of treatment.

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

Feb. 06, 2013 See more In-depth