The Benefits of Keeping a Symptom Journal
Last updated: May 2023
When we think about a journal, we think about writing out our feelings or even a list of things for which we’re thankful. Both of those aspects are helpful and ones that I practice. However, there’s another journal that I found to be helpful in managing my health: a symptom journal.
My first thought was that it would just be a reflection of the physical pain and discomfort that I was in. I don’t want a visual representation of that now too. But I figured that I would keep an open mind and give it a try.
The power of a symptom journal
Here’s what I discovered in my experience of using a symptom journal.
Helps you track your symptoms
One of the most significant benefits of keeping a symptom journal is that it helps you track your symptoms over time. When living with a chronic illness like endometriosis, it can be difficult to remember when symptoms occur, how severe they are, and what triggers them.
By keeping a symptom journal, you can easily track these details and identify patterns that can help you manage your symptoms more effectively.
Help identify triggers
This journal can become a great tool to help you identify triggers that may be contributing to your symptoms. For example, you may notice that your symptoms are worse around your period or after eating certain foods (gluten and dairy are a doozy for me!).
By identifying these triggers, you have the knowledge to make changes that could potentially bring relief in the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
Helps You Communicate Effectively with Your Healthcare Provider
The benefits of this journal can stop right here, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling scattered in a conversation with your healthcare provider.
Living with a chronic illness like endometriosis, there’s a lot to discuss because there’s a lot that you’re managing. So, the last thing you want is to go blank when you finally get to talk to your doctor.
Having your symptoms tracked in a journal can help you provide concrete information about your symptoms, their frequency and severity, and any triggers that may be contributing to them.
This can help you and your doctor to make better-informed decisions.
Helps you advocate for yourself
Again, keeping a symptom journal can help you do this by providing concrete information about your symptoms and their impact on your daily life. This can help you communicate more effectively with your healthcare provider, seek out second opinions, and make informed decisions about your care.
The bottom line is, keeping a symptom journal is an incredibly valuable tool when managing a chronic illness like endometriosis. You can use a physical journal, a piece of paper, or an app on your phone.
Use whatever works best for you. Most of all, remember that you deserve to feel healthy and well, and keeping a symptom journal can help you achieve that goal.
Do you keep a symptom journal? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):