There's good news for women who suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) offers an app called My IBD Manager to help people who have IBD manage their daily symptoms.
Most of us cannot imagine what it's like to deal with one of these chronic, life-altering illnesses. We may have had occasional gastrointestinal disturbances that cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and other problems—but that's nothing like living with IBD.
Blogger Natalie Hayden says living with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis is a "different playing field," even when compared to irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to unplanned trips to the bathroom, these autoimmune diseases can cause inflammation anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract and other symptoms from fatigue and night sweats to bowel obstruction and uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye). Read Natalie's advice on supporting someone with IBD.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 3 million American adults live with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Although women and men are diagnosed with IBD in roughly equal numbers, women report more negative effects on their quality of life and more problems with certain symptoms. Some researchers speculate that may be because of different gender expectations. For example, women feel pressure to fulfill their roles as mothers, wives, workers and more, regardless of their pain.
That's why women may find this app particularly helpful. Developed by AGA in collaboration with @Point of Care and StayWell with exclusive support of Janssen Biotech, Inc., the app will help people who have IBD monitor and track their symptoms and treatments between medical appointments and then share this info with their health care providers.
AGA and its partners also plan to launch an online clinical platform called Ask AGA: IBD that will link with My IBD Manager to allow information sharing and improve the relationship between providers and their patients. By simplifying resources and linking patients with their health care providers, the ultimate goal is better health for those suffering from IBD.
According to the AGA press release, tools and features of My IBD Manager include:
- Treatment tracker to help monitor dosing and schedule of treatment and/or supplements
- Symptom tracker to help stay on top of pain and progress
- Food log for tracking diet and nutrition
- Journaling capabilities to monitor daily fatigue, moods, ability to keep social plans and well-being
- Expert-reviewed, easy-to-read patient education on IBD-related topics, such as wellness and pregnancy with IBD, including content developed for the app
- Gamification that awards points for consistent use
The free app is now available in the Apple App Store and will be available for Android devices.
IBD prevalence in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated May 12, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm. Accessed January 25, 2018.
Women and IBD. GI Society. Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. https://www.badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/women-ibd/. Accessed January 25, 2018.
AGA launches new patient app to aid in IBD monitoring and education. American Gastroenterological Association press release. January 24, 2018. http://www.gastro.org/press_releases/aga-launches-new-resource-center-to-aid-in-ibd-monitoring-and-education. Accessed January 25, 2018.