How (and Why) to Track Symptoms

When visiting a doctor for constipation, answering questions about symptoms can be daunting because it involves remembering many specifics. This is why keeping a symptom diary is so helpful: it frees you from having to remember about what happened on any particular day.

What Should I Log?

For constipation, a major part of the symptom diary should be about bowel movements, including how many a day or week, as well as what they look like (such as how hard or formed they are or aren't). In addition, symptoms such as abdominal pain or straining on the toilet are also important to record.

Where Should I Keep My Diary?

A symptom diary could be kept on paper, using an app on a smartphone or tablet, or in a spreadsheet. The important part is to record the symptoms regularly in order to get a full picture of what is happening and communicate it to your physician.

Sample Diary

Here’s one example of what a symptom diary for constipation might look like:




Number of Bowel Movements

Water Intake (oz)

Fiber Eaten (grams)

Symptoms (pain, straining, nausea, diarrhea)

Medications or Supplements

Exercise (type and duration)

Complementary Therapies