|Why Keep a Diary?
As there is no specific test for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome, diagnosis is largely based on a physical examination and the nature of IBS symptoms reported by the patient. The more accurate a picture you can give your doctor, the quicker they can make a diagnosis. To do this, complete this diary everyday for 2 to 4 weeks before your doctor's appointment. By keeping a detailed record of symptoms, bowel movement, diet, medication, exercise and emotional status, you will help your physician determine the best treatment options for you. A diary is also useful if you are following an IBS Diet Plan and wish to discover your personal trigger foods.
DAY OF WEEK:
Was there a stool?
If so, was it: (a) Loose/diarrhea (b) hard/pellet-like or (c) ribbon shaped
How many times did you feel the need to pass stool?
How many times did you pass a stool?
How many times did you urinate?
Did you experience belching and flatus (flatulence)?
Did you experience abdominal cramping, tummy tenderness when touched or rectal pain (sharp cramps or burning feeling in the rectum)?
How are you feeling?
Do you feel happy, upbeat, physically tired, mentally tired, anxious, stressed, nervous, sad, or depressed?
If there is a specific occasion to warrant those feelings, note it.
Did you take any medications, including prescription, over the counter or herbal supplements?
If so: in what dosage.
Do you have a period?
Note any potentially stressful activities carried out including school runs, work, illness, medical appointments, arguments, personal/intimate situations. IBS and stress are closely linked.
List all foods you consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Include everything including sauces, bread types (white, whole-wheat etc) and condiments (salt, pepper, ketchup).
Note all drinks noting if they contain caffeine, or if they are decaffeinated; carbonated or contain artificial sweeteners or alcohol.
List activity and how long it was carried out for. For example, walking at a moderate pace for 20 minutes or gym varied-activity for 45 minutes.
For more information on this digestive disorder, see causes of IBS, as well as IBS treatment options.
Example of Completed Entry
One Day Example of Tracking Potential IBS Symptoms
WEEK NUMBER: 1
DAY OF WEEK: Monday
1 Stool at 10am. Hard and pellet-like. Also urinated.
Felt need to pass stool 4 other times during the work day but did not. No problems in the evening.
Felt very bloated and experienced flatulence for most of the day. Belching after dinner for 20 minutes.
Cramps in stomach, particularly at times when I felt a need to pass a stool. No tenderness on tummy or abdomen.
Started the day neither happy nor sad. Things became stressed at work, felt anxious by lunch time, wasn't sure if I could meet deadlines. I did, so that worked out fine. By the time I got home, I felt emotionally drained. Partner was in a good mood as he was recently promoted. We chatted over dinner which was fun.
Took x2 Donnatal pills at midday to help relieve stomach cramps.
Stressed at work today, tight deadlines and boss was in a bad mood.
Breakfast: 1 banana.
Mid-Morning Snack: 1 Pretzel.
Lunch: Weight Watchers Lasagna, slice of cheesecake (colleague’s birthday cake!).
Afternoon: 2 Oreo cookies.
Dinner: Grilled steak, portion of fries, green lettuce salad, ketchup.
3 Cups of coffee, each with 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 diet cokes (contain artificial sweeteners).
25 minutes 'Walk Away The Pounds' DVD when I returned home from work.
Looking for some IBS friendly menus? See IBS Recipes