A symptom journal can be one of the most important things you bring with you to a doctor’s appointment. Whether it’s with your gynecologist, podiatrist, chiropractor, or general family doctor, a symptom journal helps you keep track of small details you might otherwise forget.
How Do I Make a Gynecology Symptom Journal? Grab a blank sheet of paper or graph paper. Down the left hand side make a list of physical and mental symptoms you experience like headache, irritability, back pain, menstrual pain, light flow, heavy flow, diarrhea, missed period, light cramping, sadness, severe cramping, anxiety, urinary urgency, nighttime voiding, etc. Write the days along the top of the paper. Then every day, just go down the list and put a check mark next to the symptoms you experienced.
What is a Symptom Journal Useful For? Symptom journals have helped point us in the right direction of Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis, hormone imbalances, Adenomyosis, Polycystic Ovarian Disease, Fibroids, even depression and thyroid issues. For example, if your periods seem to always come with painful bowel movements, we may need to check for Endometriosis. Or if you have heavy, irregular periods coupled with bouts of anxiety you may be experiencing inconsistencies in your estrogen production or even a thyroid issue.
Why Can’t You Just Do an Exam? Sometimes we can look at something like an ultrasound and clearly see an issue, like a fibroid for example. But a lot of gynecological issues can’t be seen so easily– it’s only when we can paint the full picture do we really see what’s going on. So make a journal and bring it with you to your appointment. It will help you remember your experiences, and it will be easy for us to see patterns.