Having a voiding diary is beneficial when gauging your bladder health as one experiences changes. It is not only useful for you but can be extremely useful to your physician. They can use this to identify symptoms and triggers, more accurately identify your condition, and choose the best treatment plan for you. On the other hand, you can use it as an aid in bladder training, and to identify and track your lifestyle changes.
Regarding urinary incontinence, using a voiding dairy is beneficial for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is to identify the type of incontinence you are experiencing. There are 5 different types of Urinary incontinence and you can experience multiple types at once, known as Mixed Incontinence. Each of the types of incontinence have different symptoms associated with them, so your diary can help to more accurately pinpoint which you are experiencing.
Another reason a dairy can be beneficial is because it can help in the treatment process. One of the most effective ways to come to the right treatment plan is identifying the triggers that are causing your symptoms. Although some factors causing incontinence may be out of your control, like child birth or an injury, other factors can be addressed with lifestyle changes or medication. For example, it has been shown that drinks containing caffeine or alcohol can affect incontinence. So, tracking your fluid intake can indicate if this is one of your triggers and if it is, indicate a clear lifestyle change that could improve or stop your symptoms. Along with being able to aid in the treatment process, a voiding diary may be part of your treatment. In certain cases, bladder training can help you get over your incontinence and your diary will be your aid. Bladder training is where you gradually extend the period of time between voiding, eventually leading to you regaining control. Your diary will be useful for this to track your voiding, track your progress, keep record of slip ups or other triggers, and provide an accurate picture for your doctor.
Surgery can be used to treat urinary incontinence regardless of the trigger, but is often the last resort.
To find out more about the different types, causes and treatment options for urinary incontinence, click here.
Your physician needs a lot of information to accurately assess bladder function and health. Oftentimes, when a physician relies on just the patient’s memory, the patient may not remember information accurately, may misinterpret symptoms, or may not know certain information is important to provide. Correctly using a voiding diary proves to show a fuller, more accurate picture of what is going on and indicates what is important to note. It ends up being a more useful and a more accurate depiction of the data than one’s memory alone. On this note, combining the use of a voiding dairy and the patient’s memory provides the fullest picture.
A physician may use a voiding diary to more accurately diagnose and assess your condition. Sometimes they are used, “as part of the initial assessment of lower urinary tract symptoms (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2010).” Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Urology found that, “Some voiding characteristics of bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis and overactive bladder patients differ significantly according to 3-day voiding diary record.” This indicated that a voiding diary can be a useful tool in identifying the correct diagnosis and can be used to further research into the different bladder conditions. Eventually leading science to better treatment options due to a better understanding.
Now that the doctor has diagnosed your condition, they will be able to tailor a treatment plan that is best for you. Using the voiding dairy, they may be able to identify easy ways to improve your condition, such as lifestyle changes like avoiding caffeine. When your physician does identify a treatment plan, the voiding diary is very helpful to see if the treatment is working. For instance, you have been prescribed a medication to treat your OAB (overactive bladder) and the voiding diary will indicate if the medication is working or if something needs to change.
*A voiding diary may not be used in every aspect identified above, but I felt it was important to disclose how it could be used and why it is useful in each step.
Voiding diaries can really help you see things more clearly. The dairies lay out important aspects that affect your bladder health and put your condition into perspective. Maybe you didn’t realize you were voiding that much or maybe you thought you were leaking more than you actually are. In both cases, you have gained a better perspective and have data to bring to your doctor. The beauty of tracking habits is that it puts everything out in front of you, in an easily digestible format.
Voiding diaries can also be a great management tool when it comes to bladder health and your journey. Depending on what it is being used for they allow you to identify what may be contributing to your problem and the severity of your problem, to easily maintain your treatment plan, and to track your progress. Whether your relying on it for identification or treatment, the information is there, and you are in control. In having this information at your fingertips, you can track your progress and make changes if necessary. On one hand, you may feel like you aren’t progressing, but when looking at the data you can regain optimism and confidence knowing that you are progressing. On the other hand, the data may show that you aren’t progressing or are regressing. In this case, you will be able to use the data to identify areas to improve and possibly identify new reasons that could be causing or worsening your condition.
Finally, using a voiding diary will cause you to be more engaged with your healthcare. This is a hands-on way for you to take control of your health and will motivate you to progress. It is proven that when a patient is actively involved in their treatment plan and healthcare, their outcomes are better, their more optimistic and are more satisfied with the process and outcome. By actively participating in your healthcare you eliminate unnecessary stress and feel great knowing what is going on with your body.