What did I eat? How much did I drink? Why did it happen? Why me?
These questions can race through your head after a leak. And why wouldn’t they? There are so many factors that contribute to bladder leaks, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them in your head without feeling crazy. And I, for one, don’t need any help with that. The good news is that keeping a bladder diary can help. It’s a great way to understand your leaks, manage them, and stay sane.
Adding another to-do to your list can be a pain, especially in-between trips to the bathroom. But, keeping a bladder diary is something you’ll want to make time for. It’ll help you document your daily habits, understand leak triggers, track progress (remember to celebrate!), and give you solid information to review with your doctor. It’ll also give you space to reflect on how your leaks make you feel. Yeah, that touchy feely stuff is important.
Here’s everything you need to know about keeping a bladder diary.
What’s A Bladder Diary Anyway?
A bladder diary is a detailed daily record of your urinary, dietary, and lifestyle habits that can contribute to incontinence. Your water intake and those leaks you experience when you belly laugh during Ali Wong’s hilarious new Netflix Special will all be included. That way, you can figure out what to avoid or add to your daily routine. Don’t worry, we’re not recommending you stop laughing.
If you’re seeing a doctor about your leaks, this information can help them diagnose or rule out a more serious condition, monitor your medications, refine treatment options, or adjust your diet or activities to reduce their occurrence. Even if you aren’t seeing a doctor, a bladder diary can be helpful to understand what’s going on with your body.
Why Keep A Bladder Diary?
Do you plan your life around proximity to restrooms? Have you noticed recent changes in your urinary habits throughout the day? Or maybe you’re experiencing hormonal changes, due to menopause or pregnancy, that impacts the number of trips you make to the bathroom? If any of these things sound familiar, it might be time to keep a bladder diary.
A bladder diary will help you:
- Identify specific foods that irritate your bladder.
- Learn which activities may cause your leaks.
- Understand the timing of your leaks.
- Establish a schedule for bladder training.
- Determine which liquids exacerbate leaks.
- Pinpoint symptoms before an appointment with a urologist, urogynecologist, or other doctor.
Getting Started With A Bladder Diary Is Easy
Before you run out and buy a notebook, you should know that a bladder diary is a little more detailed than your typical dear diary journal. Your bladder diary will track your personal details on an hourly basis, so it’s best to use a spreadsheet or pre-made bladder diary chart to accurately record your information. You can customize your bladder diary using a spreadsheet program or ask your doctor if they’ve got a recommended format. For you tech savvy ladies out there, there are some amazing apps that can help you keep track of your bathroom habits along with the rest of your intimate health.
What To Include
A basic bladder diary includes all of the information below. Most bladder diaries also typically include a rating system or notes section for you to explain how much you leaked, the intensity of your urges, and how much you peed during each trip to the bathroom.
Here are the basics:
Hours of the day.
Trips to the bathroom.
Fluid intake (i.e. the number drinks you’ve consumed and what they are).
Activity at the time of leak.
If you are customizing your own bladder diary, you can get super fancy and detailed with any of these sections. Let your creativity run wild. Simply create bigger fields so you can take more detailed notes about what you’re experiencing.
Want to get fancy? For a more comprehensive bladder diary, try adding the following sections:
Mood: Stress can sometimes trigger bladder leaks. Tracking how you feel will help you gauge if your mood is a factor in the number of leaks you have.
Meals: What you eat and when you eat it. Yes, we want to know about that brownie.
Medications: Certain types of medications (like diuretics) can affect your kidney function. List the medications, vitamins, or supplements you take along with the dosage and time you take them.
Vices: Record the number of alcoholic drinks or cigarettes you consume and when you drink or smoke them.
Backup support method: This is the place to write your own personal Yelp review for any incontinence products you used to help deal with a leak. Bonus points for getting them via a convenient subscription box.
How Long Should You Keep A Bladder Diary?
It doesn’t take long to get a sense of your daily habits and how they might impact your leaks. Most doctors recommend keeping a bladder diary for around 3-5 days. This should be enough time to get a clear picture of your overall bladder health. It will also give you clues to start modifying your lifestyle. If you decide to try medications or make particular lifestyle modifications, like doing Kegels or changing your diet, you might want to keep a bladder diary every time you make a change to see if there has been any improvement.
Like the idea of a diary but not sure where to get started? Download a bladder diary template (click this link to download it!) and let us know how it goes. Then, breathe a sigh of relief with bladder leak products delivered to your door from Lily Bird.