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What’s a bladder diary and when would you keep one?

A person sits on a toilet in a cubicle.
A bladder diary can help you record important information about your urinary system health.

If you were asked how much you pee in a day, could you guess?

Most of us would find it difficult to judge the amount of urine we pass. It’s hard to estimate when we’re on the loo, and it’s not something we typically measure!

However, tracking our bladder activity can reveal a lot about our hydration levels, bathroom habits, and urinary system health. For people experiencing issues such as bladder leakage, a bladder diary can be a vital tool in diagnosing and treating this condition.

What is a bladder diary?

A bladder diary is a tool that can help you track details about:

  • The fluids you drink – including type, time, and whether they may be an irritant to your bladder
  • How much urine you pass – this is tracked by measuring the urine volume each time you go to the toilet
  • Every time you go to the toilet
  • Whether you experience accidental leaks (also known as incontinence) – including how wet your clothes or pad is, and what you were doing at the time, such as lifting, laughing, or sneezing
  • Your bowel movements.

Bladder diaries are typically kept both day and night for up to three consecutive days.

You can use bladder diaries from Queensland Health or the Continence Foundation of Australia, or your health care provider might give you a specific template to complete.

Closeup of a leaky faucet

When would I keep a bladder diary?

There are many reasons your health care provider might ask you to keep a bladder diary.

Over 6 million Australians have bladder and or bowel control issues. It’s a common health problem that can occur at different times in our lives, including during or after pregnancy and in older age. In addition, many medical conditions can impact bladder activity, including stroke, prostate problems, and diabetes.

A bladder diary can assist your health care provider to diagnose the cause of your bladder issues and help develop a treatment plan.

You might find that by keeping a bladder diary, it is easier to describe your symptoms and concerns to your doctor. It can be difficult to remember every drink and bathroom visit you had over the course of many days; writing this information down means you don’t have to rely on your memory.

Tracking your bathroom habits can also make it easier to spot patterns in behaviour. Perhaps you’re visiting the bathroom more overnight, or after certain types of drinks? These patterns can give you and your doctor an indication of how to best treat your bladder.

Once you’ve determined a treatment plan with your health care provider, a bladder diary can be used to help monitor your progress.

Experiencing bladder issues? Help is available

It is possible to treat and manage bladder symptoms and improve poor bladder control. Arming yourself with the right information – including a bladder diary – can be a valuable tool in addressing it.

You can phone the National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66) for further information on how to complete a bladder diary or to speak directly with a Continence Nurse Advisor.

Telling your doctor about your concerns is the first step towards better bladder health.

Last updated: 29 May 2019