Components of a comprehensive bladder and bowel assessment

A comprehensive bladder and bowel assessment has three major sections:

1. History

  • General health history eg medical, surgical, obstetric, current medication
  • Presence of symptoms
  • Symptom frequency and severity
  • Variation between night-time and daytime symptoms
  • Factors that bring on symptoms or relieve them.
  • Previous treatments tried and effects
  • Personal coping strategies for symptom relief and effectiveness
  • Fluid and nutrition patterns
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Perceptions about cause and impact on quality of life and social functioning
  • Motivation for and expectations of treatment

2. Clinical assessment

  • Bladder diary or frequency volume chart (at least 72 hours)
  • Urine analysis
  • Post-void bladder scanning for residual urine volume

3. Physical examination

  • Abdomen, pelvis, urogenital
  • Functioning including mobility and flexibility

In the next two steps, watch our clinicians Janice Reid and Fiona Saunders demonstrate history-taking to assess both a bladder dysfunction and a bowel dysfunction.

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Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

Association for Continence Advice

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