Symptom Diary

IFFGD has developed a Personal Daily Diary that is intended to help you gain a better understanding of your bowel disorder. By keeping a detailed record of diet, medication, stool consistency, frequency, continence, pain, emotional status, and exercise, a clearer understanding may start to emerge for you and/or your physician to determine the best treatment options available to you.

Using The Diary

The objective of a Daily Diary is to help you better understand your gastrointestinal illness. Using a Personal Daily Symptom Diary for 2–4 weeks can help you learn more about how your body may be reacting to certain things in your life, such as diet, exercise, stress, and sleep. 

When keeping a detailed record of stool consistency, frequency, continence, pain, diet, medication, emotional status and exercise, a clearer understanding may start to emerge for you and/or your physician to determine the best treatment options available to you.

Find examples of what to record at the bottom of this page.

Download our IBS Personal Daily Diary to start tracking today

Name: ____________________ 
Day of the Week
: ____________  Date: ____________

Bowel Symptoms

Evacuation in Toilet
Time Stool Description & Symptom
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Gas

Time Details
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Stain/Smear

Time Stool Description & Symptom
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Incontinent Bowel Movement

Time Stool Description & Symptom
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Bowel Symptoms Summary

Number of daytime evacuations: ____________
Number of nighttime evacuations: ____________
Number of stains or smears: ____________
Number of incontinent bowel movements, if any: ____________
Number of protect undergarments used, if any: ____________

Pain

Time Description & Duration
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Emotional Status

Time Details
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Medications

Time Prescription/Over-the-Counter
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Diet

Medications

Time Prescription/Over-the-Counter
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Foods

Breakfast Time Items
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
Lunch Time Items
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
Dinner Time Items
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________
  ____________ ____________________________________

Beverages

Time Items
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Exercise

Time Exercise Type
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________
____________ ____________________________________

Women

Menstrual cycle; ovulation; menstruation
____________________________________
____________________________________

Examples

Descriptions Examples
Bowel Movement (Description) Loose; diarrhea; formed; hard, pellet-like; ribbon-shaped
Symptoms Incomplete evacuation; strong urge; straining; incontinent; stain/smear
Gas Belching; flatus
Pain Abdominal cramping; lower intestinal cramping; pain on either side of abdomen; tenderness (tender when touched); rectal pain (sharp dull, burning; feels like a hard object is in rectum; cramping sensation in rectum)
Emotional Status
How do you feel? Why?
Fine; happy; relaxed; anxious; nervous; sad; unhappy, depressed; fatigued; tired (wake up tired, wake up during the night) – mentally tired, physically tired
Stressors Daily obligations; employment; school; family; social; travel; shopping; medical appointments; illness; injury; trauma; surgery; personal/intimate
Medications Prescription/over-the-counter including herbs or supplements; and Dosage
Women Menstrual cycle; ovulation; menstruation
Food
List everything, be detailed.
Fruits; vegetables; dairy products; meat; fish; poultry; breads (whole grain, etc); pasta; dessert; condiments (salt, pepper, sauces, spices, oils)
Beverages Caffeine; decaffeinated; carbonated; diet/sugar free; alcohol; fruit juices
Exercise

List examples: walk, run, bike, swim, aerobic, other; and times

Share this page
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print
Topics of this article
Was this article helpful?

IFFGD is a nonprofit education and research organization. Our mission is to inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal disorders.

Our original content is authored specifically for IFFGD readers, in response to your questions and concerns.

If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting IFFGD with a small tax-deductible donation.

Related Information
Personal Stories