Asking the Right Questions

With so many variables impacting one another to influence your digestive illness or your ability to regain your overall health, how can you ever determine what is ailing you and what you can do about it?  

Thankfully, a path forward begins with learning to ask the right questions. What follows are questions taken from the comprehensive Digestive Wellness Questionnaire created by Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, and author of Digestive Wellness, 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2012.

Take the following questionnaire. It contains lots of questions, but that only makes sense since we are exploring our most ancient and arguably our most complex biological system. Score your responses to help yourself to zero in on how to prioritize your focus. And, once you become better informed about what may be affecting you, you can direct your energies to collaborating with a health professional able to assist you, while you get also become better able to help yourself.

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1. Rate your symptom: Poor appetite
2. Rate your symptom: Burping
3. Rate your symptom: Abdominal bloating and distention, especially with sugar, fiber, and carbohydrates
4. Rate your symptom: Fullness for extended time after meals
5. Rate your symptom: Stomach upsets easily
6. Rate your symptom: Stomach pain when emotionally upset
7. Rate your symptom: Stomach pains before or after meals
8. Rate your symptom: Abdominal cramps
9. Rate your symptom: Sudden, acute indigestion
10. Rate your symptom: Indigestion one to three hours after eating
11. Rate your symptom: Lower bowel gas
12. Rate your symptom: Excessive gas/flatulence
13. Rate your symptom: Fatigue or sleepiness after eating
14. Rate your symptom: Headaches after eating
15. Rate your symptom: Pain in left side under rib cage or chronic stomach pain
16. Rate your symptom: Nausea
17. Rate your symptom: Acid reflux/heartburn
18. Rate your symptom: Bad breath
19. Rate your symptom: Body odor
20. Rate your symptom: Water retention
21. Rate your symptom: Constipation or history of constipation
22. Rate your symptom: Diarrhea or history of diarrhea
23. Rate your symptom: Alternating constipation and diarrhea
24. Rate your symptom: Three or more large bowel movements daily
25. Rate your symptom: Less than one bowel movement daily
26. Rate your symptom: Pain when passing stool
27. Rate your symptom: Roughage and fiber cause constipation
28. Rate your symptom: Mucus in stools
29. Rate your symptom: Red blood or pus in stool
30. Rate your symptom: Hard stool
31. Do you have food allergies? (check all that apply)
32. Do you experience nausea after taking supplements?
33. Do you have an intolerance to greasy foods?
34. Do you have an intolerance to probiotic supplements?
35. Do you have dry, flaky skin and/or dry, brittle hair?
36. Do you have acne?
37. Do you have yellow in the whites of your eyes?
38. Do you have difficulty gaining weight?
39. Do you have chronic or frequent fatigue or tiredness?
40. Do you have chronic or frequent inflammations?
41. Do you have chronic or frequent sinus or nasal congestion?
42. Do you have joint pain or swelling, or arthritis?
43. Do you have headaches or migraine headaches?
44. Do you have sleep problems?
45. Do you have depression, anxiety, and/or mood swings?
46. Do you have frequent confusion or poor memory?
47. Do you have thyroid problems?
48. Do you have frequent or recurring infections (colds)?
49. Do you have bladder and/or kidney infections?
50. Do you have a history of gallstones/history of gallbladder disease
51. Do you currently have one or more ulcers?
52. Have you been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
53. Have you been diagnosed with asthma, hay fever, or airborne allergies?
54. Have you been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or celiac disease?
55. Do you have history or family history of ulcers or gastritis?
56. Do you have history or family history of arthritis, any type?
57. Do you have history or family history of cancer?
58. Do you have history or family history of autoimmune disease?
59. Do you have history or family history of inflammatory bowel disease?
60. Check any of the following medications you are taking. Add to this list any other medications, supplements, or digestive enzymes you are taking.
61. Do you use or have previous use of pain medications like aspirin?
62. Are you taking antacids or proton pump inhibitors or experience heartburn/GERD?
63. Are you taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, Tylenol, Motrin)
64. Do you have a history of antibiotic use?
65. How severely is your IBS limiting your lifestyle?
66. How severely is your IBS limiting your happiness?
67. Are you currently on a diet related or unrelated to IBS?
68. Do you practice yoga?
69. Do you practice meditation?
70. Do you consistently get 7 or more hours of sleep each night?
71. Place a check in the box next to each of the following statements that describes you:
72. How often do you cook meals from scratch?
73. How often do you eat meals out?
74. Do you avoid eating meals with other people?
75. Place a check in the box if you eat, drink, or use:
76. How stressful were your life circumstances in the 12 months before you developed IBS symptoms? (0 = no significant stress; 10 = extreme distress)
77. Over the course of your life to the present day, how would you rank the average level of stress you consistently experience in your life? (0 = no significant stress; 10 = extreme distress)
78. If you have been exposed to traumatic experiences (injury, abuse, or other experiences you define as traumatic to you), how much loving support and understanding did you receive in the aftermath of the trauma? (0 = significant and meaningful support; 10 = I faced it alone and without adequate support)
79. In your early life how safe, secure, and connected you did you feel to a stable adult in your life? (0 = very connected, safe, and secure; 10 = alone, rejected, or neglected)
80. How would you describe the emotional atmosphere in the home in which you were raised?
81. Has anyone in your family experienced depression?
82. Has anyone in your family experienced anxiety?
83. Has anyone in your family experienced chronic illness?
84. Has anyone in your family experienced substance abuse involving alcohol, prescription, or street drugs?
85. Has anyone in your family experienced unstable employment and chronic financial/food insecurity?
86. What is your age?
87. What is your gender?
88. What is your race/ethnicity?
89. What is your marital status?
90. What is your income level?
91. What is the highest level of education you have completed?
92. How many health professionals have you consulted regarding your IBS?
93. Where do you go to find information about IBS treatments, diets, or management techniques?
94. How much do you spend on IBS-related treatments or products each year?
95. Are you a spiritual person?
96. In general, are you a worrier?
97. In general, does your life have direction, meaning, and purpose?
98. In general, are you an internally motivated or externally motivated person?
99. How did you hear about IBS Relief Now?
100. Are there any other comments you would like to add about you, your IBS, or this questionnaire?