Getting appy: The apps I use to manage life with Crohn's

Am I the only one who's a bit of a phone addict? Perhaps it's the fact that so much of our support for the illness can be accessed on our phones. Whether it's searching for side-effects for medications, monitoring our food intake, chatting in a facebook group or even emailing your doctor. There's no denying that when the disease strikes and you're home alone; our mobile phone can be a great source of knowledge and comfort.

Yet, another side of things that I've delved into is mobile phone apps and using these to help manage life with IBD. Whether it's helping me meditate, log my food, record my symptoms or find a doctor: here are some of the best apps I've tried.

1.For meditation, I use Calm and Headspace

Meditation can be really helpful in times of stress and whilst there are tons of choices out there, Calm and Headspace are my favourites. If you struggle with sleep, the Calm app has lots of different sleep meditations; whilst there are also programs for things like self-esteem and positivity. Headspace has an amazing 'SOS' button; which you can quickly press when you feel things escalating.

2.For speaking to a doctor, I use Push Doctor

For those of us in the United Kingdom, seeing a doctor can be tricky and involves huge wait times. Push Doctor is an app that allows you to book an appointment (often pretty much instantly) with a GP and it's something I've used a few times. You do pay a small fee and you're not seeing a specialist, but they can still be immensely helpful. They can also do repeat prescription requests and even arrange blood tests.

3.For logging symptoms, I use Bowelle and Gut Health Storylines.

Bowelle is primarily an IBS app so it's very simple, but I like that about it (it's very quick to fill out). You simply log how you're feeling, your bowel movements (consistency, frequency, blood, mucus etc), stress and food. For me, it's much simpler to fill those few things out, but I know there are IBD specific apps too. Gut Health Storylines is another good one- you can also track your medication and a wider range of symptoms on that one and fill out treatment reflections. I have also just discovered Cara (more below); which is perhaps the most in-depth one out there!

4. For chatting with others, I use Facebook and My Crohn's Colitis Team

Facebook can be an amazing place for support groups but I've also used My Crohn's and Colitis Team which is a social media app specifically for IBD Patients.

5. For tracking my cycle, I use Ovia.

I've blogged before about how IBD can interact with your menstrual cycle. And for me, I've suffered from irregular periods in the past; as well as noticing worsened symptoms around the time of menstruation. I use Ovia to keep track of how my cycle is going.

6. For tracking food, I'm trying Cara

Whilst researching this article, I came across Cara, an in-depth food diary that links to your symptoms. I have been trying it out and it's very in-depth in terms of tracking your food and health which is fantastic, but perhaps not something I'd use every day.

For example, you can categorise stomach pain by cramping, acid reflux or heartburn; add sleep symptoms; pick from a huge range of food ingredients and track your stool very closely (this app allows you to categories colour, whether it was complete evacuation, urgency, pressure and more!)

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