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The benefits of a bladder diary

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The benefits of a bladder diary

If you’ve visited your GP to talk about your bladder weakness, then you may have been asked to keep a bladder diary for a few days. This is a record of what we eat and drink as well as information about our toilet trips.

The reason for the diary is simple: often the symptoms we experience are related to something in our lifestyle. This could be our choice of food or liquid. It’s also good for the doctor to know when you have the urge to urinate to see whether it’s related to certain activities. 

By understanding your fluid intake and output, together with other details, it’s possible for the doc to come up with a diagnosis and solution more easily.

What goes in the diary?

Of course, you can keep a bladder diary without being asked and it could be useful to bring one to your next appointment. Let’s take a look at the kind of things you should be recording.

Fluid intake

Your doctor will want to know what, and how often, you are drinking. It’s not just water or beer that will be of interest but also any foods that can be consumed in liquid form, such as ice cream or soup. Record in your diary the times of the day you are taking in the fluid.


Make a note of how often you need to urinate, as well as the times of day - there is likely to be a correlation with your fluid intake. It’s also useful to measure how much you are urinating and, although it’s a bit of a hassle, a measuring jug can help. Remember, you only need to do this for a few days and don’t forget to thoroughly wash the jug afterwards.

Types of leakage

You may not suffer from unwanted leakage, just simply need to go to the toilet too often for comfort. However, if you do have leaks then note which time of day they occur and how much there was - mild dampness or more extensive wetness for example.

The circumstances

What was going on when you needed to relieve yourself? Did you go before the urge actually came just to control your toilet visits? Perhaps this was to accommodate work calls or trips?
Did you have to delay going to the toilet due to circumstances beyond your control? Or did the urge come quickly so you had to rush to the toilet, and did you make it in time? Also, record any evidence of stress urinary incontinence - for example if it happened when you sneezed, laughed or carried out some form of exercise.
Keeping note of this sort of detail enables the doctor to assess the severity of the problem, and make connections between intake and activity. A bladder diary is well worth your time and effort.

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