Just call me Pinocchio because I lied. Last week I said I would review the Sleep Cycle app for this week’s mobile health review, but over the holiday weekend I came across an app that I am so excited about I just have to tell you about it first. But don’t worry, the Sleep Cycle app is already downloaded on my iPhone and I promise to tell you all about it next week.
For Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis patients like me, GIMonitor by WellApps is a must-have mobile app. If I didn’t already own a smartphone I would buy one just for this app alone. I would highly recommend this app to anybody with any type of GI issue or IBD - and best of all, it’s free. I downloaded GIMonitor primarily for the purpose of tracking everything I eat, along with my six-plus daily bowel movements, in order to gain a better understanding of which foods cause problems for me and which foods (if any) are truly safe. This app is a fantastic way to do this.
GIMonitor allows users to track the exact time, consistency and urgency of every bowel movement (BM), every meal, and every symptom that may be directly or indirectly related to their digestive issues. Then it charts the information over a particular time period so the patient and their doctor can look for patterns. Additionally, the app automatically calculates the user’s quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the frequency and urgency of their BMs, along with any pain or blood associated with it.
Perhaps the best feature GIMonitor offers is a social forum where users are able to share their thoughts and support each other in the battle against Crohn’s, colitis, etc. It’s actually a lot like Facebook for IBD patients and is affectionately referred to among frequent users as Buttbook.
I can’t stress enough how important the social feature of the app is. People who suffer from IBD and related disorders - or any chronic illness for that matter – are often uncomfortable talking about their symptoms with friends and family. After all, describing the frequency and consistency of one’s poop isn’t exactly good dinner conversation. It is incredibly refreshing to be able to connect with real people who truly understand what I go through each day. Just being able to have candid discussions about what goes on in the bathroom is surprisingly rewarding.
I know there are similar mobile apps available for people with other chronic diseases, like diabetes. If those apps even come close to doing for those patients what GIMonitor does for people like me, the developers of such apps should be commended. I only wish I had discovered this app sooner.