The Endometriosis Cymru Symptom Tracker
For doctors to understand why you are having symptoms they need to know the nature of these symptoms and when you’re having them. Please download the symptom tracker and read this section to understand how to use the tracker.
Your doctor will want to find out:
- the type of symptoms (e.g. pelvic pain, period pain, painful bowel movements)
- how frequently the symptoms occur (e.g. from time to time, regularly)
- whether symptoms happen in a specific repeating pattern (e.g. period-related)
- how severe the symptoms are, for example through the impact on daily activities (e.g. difficulty going to school or work).
Doctors will often ask you to keep a symptom diary or symptom tracker for a period of time to help in these discussions. Tracking means taking a note of symptoms (type, frequency, pattern, severity) over a period of time. The period of time is usually a few months.
There are many ways to track gynaecological symptoms but not all trackers are designed specifically to track symptoms in a way that is helpful to doctors. Some trackers were made to understand period or fertility cycles. Others might be designed for gynaecological symptoms, but might ask too many questions or not ask the right questions to help your discussions with a doctor.
We developed the Endometriosis Cymru Symptom Tracker to help you track your symptoms in a way that will help discussions with a doctor. The Symptom Tracker was designed to help you explain your menstrual or gynaecological symptoms to your GP or other health professional. The tracker focusses on the topics that are most helpful to know about when deciding about the care pathway for people that have symptoms that could be endometriosis. The tracker will help you build a profile of your symptoms that you can show to your doctor.
How to use the Endometriosis Cymru Symptom Tracker
There are two parts to the tracker. The first part asks about you and your medical history and the second part asks about your symptoms.
About you and your medical history
The tracker asks some basic questions like your age, whether you have a relative with endometriosis, how long your periods usually last for and the date of your last period.
It also asks if you’ve seen a doctor about your symptoms, whether symptoms have been investigated and whether you take any medications that may affect the intensity or impact of your symptoms. You only need to complete this part the first time you use the tracker, or if any of your answers have changed since the last time you filled it in.
Your symptoms and the impact of your symptoms
Here the tracker asks about a specific set of symptoms and whether you’ve experienced any of them over the past 24 hours. It’s okay if you haven’t experienced any of the symptoms. The fact that symptoms come and go is useful information for your doctor. It doesn’t ask about every possible endometriosis symptom. It only asks about a small number of symptoms that differentiate endometriosis from the other conditions it can often be mistaken for. You should complete this part every three days.
The tracker asks about how you were affected by your symptoms in two ways.
1. The intensity of the pain
2. The impact on your ability to perform your daily activities
When to use the tracker
You should use the tracker every three days for at least three months (or over three menstrual periods), even when you are not experiencing any symptoms. Your doctor will find it helpful to see the pattern of your symptoms before they can decide on the best care pathway for you. By using the tracker regularly you will record the impact of symptoms at different times of your menstrual cycle (when you’re bleeding, in the middle of the cycle and also just before your period).
Take your symptom tracker results with you when you visit your doctor. This is information that will be helpful for your doctor in deciding the best treatment pathway for you. The more you use the tracker, the more detailed a picture a GP or other healthcare professional will have of your symptoms and their impact. You may want to share this information with your GP before your appointment. Contact your surgery to find out the best way to do this.