Your stomach hurts, and you’re not sure why. Is it something you ate? Food poisoning? Cramps? If you are experiencing pain or other gastro symptoms on a regular basis – and it’s affecting your everyday life — it may be time to see a gastroenterologist.
Prior to your visit, consider writing in a wellness journal, which can be just a plain notebook. This simple tool can be a major help to the doctors diagnosing your condition. Taking some time in the weeks leading up to an appointment to track symptoms can be key for proper diagnosing. Not only will a wellness journal help you bring more awareness to things like the foods you eat and how often you move your body, but it can also help uncover patterns of when problematic symptoms occur.
For anyone looking to improve their digestive health, here are 15 things to track in a wellness journal and the questions to consider:
What did you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What about snacks?
2. Water intake
How many ounces of water did you consume throughout the day? Aim for eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day.
Besides water, what beverages are you consuming? Are they carbonated? Fruit juices with citrus? Caffeine? Take note!
4. Change to routine
Did you recently change jobs or add a child to the family? Are you waking or going to bed at a different time than usual?
If you have a habit of intermittent fasting daily, note it.
6. Medications and supplements
Do you take a prescription medication or vitamins daily?
Do you find yourself more stressed and irritable lately? Note how that fluctuates from day-to-day.
Do you take daily walks, or hit the gym on a regular basis?
If you’re feeling bloat, make sure to indicate at what point in the day you feel it, and after which foods in particular.
10. Bowel movements, diarrhea and constipation
Make note of your daily bathroom habits, or lack thereof.
If you’re experiencing more than your daily amount of gas, take note.
Track your sleeping habits and what time you wake-up and go to bed on a daily basis.
13. Skin issues
Note any skin issues or abnormal rashes, as this can indicate a food or gluten sensitivity.
Make a note if you’ve recently gained or lost an excessive amount of weight.
15. Alcohol and tobacco consumption
During the day, did you drink a glass of wine or smoke a cigarette? These can trigger acid reflux/GERD.
If you do happen to have a diagnosis following your initial appointment, make sure to continue your wellness journal to look for additional patterns or foods that may trigger uncomfortable symptoms. You can also try these tips for keeping your GI tract running smoothly to see if that helps lessen symptoms you’re feeling.
Visit a gastroenterologist today
Visit Gastrointestinal Specialists, P.C. in Troy, Michigan, to receive a true diagnosis of what’s causing your stomach issues so we can help you treat it. Contact us today!