How to keep an endometriosis pain and symptom diary

Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP
27 February 2024
Next review due February 2027

Endometriosis can be a challenging condition to manage. Whether you suspect you have this condition, or you’ve already been diagnosed, keeping a symptom and pain diary may help you to seek the right treatment. Here, I’ll explore how to keep a symptom and pain diary, and what to do with your results.

person on the phone in bed

What are the signs and symptoms of endometriosis?

Endometriosis affects around one in 10 women; yet there are often significant delays in diagnosis. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of your uterus (called endometrial like tissue) grows in places it shouldn’t. This tissue might grow in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or nearby structures such as the bowel or bladder.

In rare cases, endometrial like tissue has been found in the lungs.

Endometriosis is a chronic (ongoing) condition. Common symptoms can include:

For some women, endometriosis can have a big effect on quality of life, and understandably may affect their career, social life, and mood.

But treatments are available and can include:

  • hormonal medicines such as the oral contraceptive pill
  • pain reliving medications
  • surgery to remove the endometrial like tissue

Some women find lifestyle changes helpful too, such as dietary improvements and increased physical activity. Getting the right help and support can help you to manage your symptoms and reduce their impact on your life.

What is a symptom and pain diary?

A symptom and pain diary can help you to accurately record your symptoms, and pain levels, during the month. You might use an app, an online diary, or a notebook to record your symptoms.

Symptom and pain diaries aren’t used to self-diagnose a condition such as endometriosis – this needs to be done by a medical professional. But they can help you to report your symptoms and pain levels.

Why is keeping a symptom and pain diary useful?

It can be hard to remember exactly when your symptoms flared up during the month. You might also find it hard to recall how severe your pain was on any given day. Keeping a pain and symptom diary can be helpful for both you and your doctor. You’ll both be able to notice any patterns to your pain or other symptoms.

For example, you may notice you feel worse before, during, or after your period. These can give your doctor clues about what might be causing your pain.

If you already have an endometriosis diagnosis, you can record how effective different treatments are at reducing your pain and other symptoms. This can help to ensure you get the best treatment possible.

How can I keep a symptom and pain diary?

You can choose to record your symptoms and pain levels in a notebook, on an app on your phone, or by using our free endometriosis pain and symptom diary. This one-month diary will allow you to track your symptoms, and record how severe they felt.

We've also added some space at the end of each page for you to make notes on how you felt overall, as well as any treatments you tried. You can record how well they worked to reduce your pain. You might like to start by tracking your symptoms for a week, but keeping a diary for a couple of months will give you a clearer view about what might be going on.

What should I do with my symptom diary results?

You can use your diary results to start a conversation with a GP. Together you can you figure out what works best for you in terms of managing your symptoms. You can reflect on different treatment options, and see if any dietary changes, exercises, or complementary therapies have any benefit for you.

You can also use your diary to show your doctor how different pain medications or other medicines are working for you – along with any side effects they bring.

Are you struggling to cope with your endometriosis symptoms, or do you care about someone who is? The endometriosis section on our Women’s Health Hub offers lots of expert advice and information about endometriosis, and you don’t even need to be a Bupa customer.

Samantha Wild
Dr Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP



Julia Ebbens, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

    • Endometriosis. The world health organisation., updated March 2023
    • Cromeens MG, Carey ET, Robinson WR, et al. Timing, delays and pathways to diagnosis of endometriosis: a scoping review protocol.BMJ pen 2021;11. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-049390
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