What Is a Clinician To Do—Believe the Patient or her Urinary Diary?

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We determined if patient recall of incontinence episodes correlates with urinary diary record.

Materials and Methods

Women with 1 or more urge incontinence episode per week completed 2, 7-day diaries, the Urinary Distress Inventory and Incontinence Impact Questionnaire, and responded to 2 recall questions.


The median number of incontinence episodes participants recalled (6.5, 5) was higher than those recorded in the diary (1.9, 1.1) at both points. Incontinence episodes in 2, 7-day diaries correlated strongly (ρ = 0.921, p <0.005) while participant recall of incontinence episodes correlated weakly (ρ = 0.309, p <0.059). When subjects reported being only slightly or not bothered by urge incontinence, recall and diary record correlated strongly (ρ = 0.812, p = 0.014). With increasing bother (moderate or great), recall and diary were not significantly correlated (ρ = 0.528, p = 0.115).


Women with urge incontinence either overestimate or under record incontinence episode frequency in the urinary diary. This effect is more pronounced in women who are more bothered by incontinence.

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