I started the diary well before Xmas and I have so say that it has a very positive effect just in the doing. I feel like I am being proactive in managing the condition – when I next see the consultant I can discuss patterns etc with confidence which has got to help. It helps me to drink more and more regularly through the day – being hydrated has got to help. I have never been someone who feels thirsty and can easily go all day hardly drinking anything.
It also makes me assess the day – you can easily not notice that a day has been really good but you always notice the bad days so it can feel that the bad outweighes the good. The diary highlights the good, makes you recognise the days where the loo visits are in the teens not the twenties or even thirties. I think that is important.
From Xmas Day through into the new year I decided that the diary was going to be really hard to keep and, as the days were so unusual, staying in different houses, eating different foods at different times, there would be less benefit. Instead I wrote a summary of each of those days. My symptoms were worse over that period – the drive from one family to the other the day after boxing day was littered with toilet stops and I was pretty incomfortable a lot of the way. I did steer clear of alcohol, carbonated drinks, fruit juices, coffee and too much chocolate – strange at Xmas.
How is it going? I have started back at the diary – I am not sure how extremely accurate it is now that all the school drop offs and general running around has started again. Symptoms have calmed down a lot – yesterday was a dream until late in the afternoon when I was in pain. Was it the small helping of baked beans at lunch or the pear? I don’t know but I was rejoicing the inventor of ibuprofen!! Next step is a sit down with the diary and see if I can spot any patterns. Also, can I improve the way I keep the diary? I think I need to better record the discomfort/pain, when I am free of discomfort and when it starts and fades. However, that needs to be in a way that doesn’t make the diary ridiculously time consuming to keep.
If you have IC or any other condition where diet can have a role to play in aggravating or lessening the symptoms, get a diary going. If you think you may have a food intolerance or are having symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a diary is a really good place to start. Even weight management can benefit from a bit of diary keeping. It seems like a faff and it certainly took me a while to get it going but it is worth it. A consultant or a dietitian could really be informed to help you manage your condition, you may be able to spot something yourself.