Charting Your Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Part of the IBS For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you think you might have irritable bowel syndrome, collect various pieces of information so you can have a fruitful discussion with your doctor about your condition. For example, determine if anyone in your family has a history of IBS, and figure out when your symptoms began. Also, create a record of the treatment options you've tried and how successful they've been.

It's also useful to fill out a questionnaire about your symptoms, such as the one below.

Describe your symptoms. Circle all that apply.

Abdominal cramping
Abdominal pain on the left side
Straining with a bowel movement
Other _______________________________________

How long have you had these symptoms? Circle one.

A few weeks
About 12 weeks
About 6 months
Less than 1 year
Less than 5 years
5 to 10 years

How often do you have these symptoms? Circle one.

Once per month
Once per week
Every day
Several times per day
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