What is the role of a voiding diary in the evaluation of urinary incontinence?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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The patient also should be instructed to fill out a voiding diary and to write down any questions. A voiding diary is a daily record of the patient's bladder activity and is a useful supplement to the medical history of the patient.

Voiding diaries should record the volume and type of fluid intake and the frequency and volume of voids. Episodes of nocturia should be noted. Finally, episodes of incontinence should be recorded, including an estimate of the volume; associated activities such as coughing, straining, and dishwashing; and associated symptoms such as urgency.

Voiding diaries are helpful as a pretherapy diagnostic tool, but they have also been used to measure posttherapy outcomes. Estimates of voiding frequency and amounts obtained by history alone can be unreliable.

Voiding diaries are reproducible in the setting of stress incontinence. One study found that in patients with stress incontinence, a representative and reproducible measure of incontinence episodes and mean daily voids can be obtained with a 3-day diary. [51] A 1-day diary is probably too short. Fewer data exist regarding the reliability of voiding diaries in patients with urge incontinence; further research is needed.

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