When you suffer with endometriosis, you will begin to realise that this chronic illness follows no rules or boundaries. Pains can be unexpected and your symptoms can change frequently. Pains can get worse at certain times of the month or be more persistent. Therefore, it is useful to maintain a pain diary. Recording your symptoms will help you and your doctor to identify if there are any patterns or triggers. It will also give you some insight into how you are impacted by endometriosis on a daily basis.
Here are FIVE things to record in a pain diary that will benefit your pain diagnosis and management.
- Pain Location - Where are you getting pain? If in your stomach, then what side? Are you having pains near your ovaries or around your belly button? What about in your lower back or legs? All details can help to pinpoint pain and work out the causes.
- Pain Types - Are you having sharp, shooting pains? Or is it more of a dull ache? A burning sensation? Twisting or pulling? These descriptive words will help you to notice patterns or changes.
- Pain Intensity - Some people find it helpful to record their pain scale rating. Usually on a chart from 0 - 10. Zero meaning no pain at all and ten being the worst pain imaginable.
- Medications - Along with the pain intensity, recording the medications you have taken can be useful. What have you taken? What dosage and when? Not only will it help by providing a visual reminder, but if the medications are not providing any relief, you may need to consult your doctor.
- Triggers - Have you noticed that your pain flares up whilst doing certain activities? Does standing for a substantial length of time worsen it? Do you get pain during intercourse? Any pain from bowel movements? Or do you notice your pain more at certain times of the day? Do your pains increase in the morning, night, or afternoon?
You can keep a pain diary in any format that suits you. I use a personal journal and write down my information before I go to bed each night. You could use a free printable pain diary available from NPS Medicinewise or record your results online. There are also some useful phone apps available to update your pain diary wherever you are, including one named Catch My Pain which is available for IPhone and Android.
If you think of other important factors to include in a pain diary, or useful applications/websites you use to do this - please leave them in the comment box below!