Are Bladder Diaries Helpful in Management of Overactive Bladder?

Colby A. Dixon, Nissrine A Nakib

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Bladder diaries have long been used in both research and clinical practice to measure lower urinary tract symptoms in overactive bladder, yet their practical role in clinical practice remains questioned. In this review, we evaluate current literature to assess the usefulness of bladder diaries in the management of overactive bladder. A MEDLINE search was performed to identify literature regarding bladder diaries. Seven hundred sixty were returned of which 52 were considered relevant and reviewed. The review was limited to papers published in peer reviewed journals. Studies were selected based on their use of formal bladder diaries rather than short-form questionnaires in evaluating overactive bladder symptoms. Studies were excluded that focused primarily on bladder diaries for prostate and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) rather than overactive bladder symptoms. Bladder diaries provide accurate data and are more reliable than patients’ recollections of symptoms. In addition to being inexpensive and low risk, patients view diaries as easy to complete and helpful for their care. Bladder diaries assist providers in differentiating between urge incontinence caused by overactive bladder and stress incontinence of separate etiology, allowing for correct tailoring of treatment regimens. The level of scientific rigor surrounding the development of bladder diaries continues to increase, and there are now several validated diaries available for clinical use. The 3- to 7-day bladder diary is a useful tool for both clinicians and patients in the management of overactive bladder. For patients, recording their voiding habits in a bladder diary provides insight into their urinary habits and symptom triggers. It allows them to contribute in the treatment decision process in a meaningful way and also empowers them to identify ways in which to control their symptoms. For providers, the bladder diary serves as an objective, prospective tool to assess the severity of patients’ symptoms as well as the effectiveness of various interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-17
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Bladder Dysfunction Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Bladder diary
  • Overactive bladder
  • Voiding diary


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