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Urinary Incontinence: Keeping a Daily Record

Topic Overview

Keep a daily diary of all liquids taken in and all urine released, whether voluntary or involuntary. Your health professional may also call this a voiding log, bladder record, frequency-volume chart, incontinence chart, or voiding diary. The diary is usually kept for 3 to 4 days.

Record in your diary:

  • The time and amount of each urination.
  • The conditions under which urine release occurred, such as voluntary urination in the toilet, involuntary urine release, or leakage due to sneezing, laughing, or physical exertion.
  • The amounts and types of all liquids consumed. This includes frozen liquid items such as ice cream and frozen fruit juice bars.
  • Whether the liquid consumed contained caffeine (if your health professional instructs you to specify this information).

Why It Is Done

A diary is sometimes requested before you see a doctor about urinary incontinence.

You may be asked to keep a voiding log when:

  • You experience the involuntary release of urine.
  • No cause for the incontinence is discovered in the medical history and physical exam.
  • You are not sure of the frequency and amount of urine leakage.

Results

A diary may identify the cause of your incontinence.

  • If urine leakage occurs at the same time each day, several hours after taking a prescription drug, the drug may be having a diuretic effect.
  • If urine leakage occurs only during exercise or after sneezing, laughing, coughing, or similar actions, this points to stress incontinence.

See a sample diarysample diary(What is a PDF document?).

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised September 11, 2012

Last Revised: September 11, 2012

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