August 1st, 2014 by Digestive Detective
Smartphone apps abound with options that range from increasing productivity to counting calories to downloading music and much more. You probably use a handful of apps yourself to help you monitor and track various aspects of your life - but what about your health? More specifically, what about one of the most influential areas of health - digestive health. Digestive symptoms provide a picture into gastrointestinal function and as such, your nutrient status - your body's ability to digest and absorb the vitamins and minerals from the foods that you eat. GI symptoms also provide clues to any health issues or imbalances you may have along your digestive tract. While few of us think to write down and track our digestive responses, even fewer are willing to examine our most telling digestive clue by peering at our poo. Luckily, there are now apps for that!
Top 5 Apps For Tracking and Monitoring Digestion and GI Health
According to its Android app description, "Poop Diary" is an application that allows you to easily record your every bowel movement - including time, color, amount, and shape information. It also provides you with statistical information to let you clearly understand your poop condition. In addition, you can let "Poop Diary" remind you if you haven't had a bowel movement for a period of time so that you can improve potential issues with constipation.
With PoopLog, you can track your bowel movements using the Bristol Stool Scale, a commonly used chart physicians often rely on to interpret stool and digestive complaints or GI health status. Users can record bowel movement, volume, and time. PoopLog allows you to attach a note, photo, and even allows you to share any part of your entry with other installed applications (if you are so bold!).
While GI Monitor is designed as a symptom logging application for patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, it offers features that can benefit anyone looking to gauge their digestive health. GIMonitor allows you to track stools per day (to evaluate frequency and any tendency towards constipation or diarrhea), form level, blood levels, and urgency. In addition, users can log meals and run reports that feature graphs to help determine any patterns around foods and medications.
PoopMD is an app that was developed by Johns Hopkins Children's Center to help parents evaluate the bowel habits of their babies and young children. PoopMD is an interactive application that integrates color recognition software with your smartphone’s camera to analyze a baby’s stool color and determine if there may be liver disease or gastrointestinal bleeding. Primarily, the app was developed to help monitor the potential for biliary atresia - the number one cause of pediatric end-stage liver disease and the most common indication for pediatric liver transplantation in the United States. Early diagnosis and surgical intervention before 60 days of life is associated with better outcomes. Babies with biliary atresia often have pale stool and the app affords parents the opportunity to connect directly with their physicians. PoopMD can provide automated reminders to analyze an infant’s stool color in order to encourage parents to check their baby’s stool. Users can directly email their baby’s healthcare provider, including the photo, to facilitate discussion and determine if additional work-up is indicated. This technology can apply not only to monitoring for biliary atresia, but a host of other gastrointestinal conditions present in early age.
Bowel Mover is marketed as a "Digestion Journal and Gluten Free Tracker" and may be particularly helpful for those avoiding gluten in their diet. The tracker provides options for logging stool frequency, texture, water intake and note if the day was gluten-free or not. For Celiac patients and those with either confirmed or suspected Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, this feature is very beneficial to assess the potential affects that gluten is having on bowel function and the GI tract.
Have you used any of the apps mentioned above? If so, what was your experience like? Did they help you identify any issues around certain foods or your general digestive health? Share in the comments below.