If you're one of the one in seven people in North America who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you know that the condition can be unpredictable and debilitating. While there's no cure for IBS, there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
One important aspect of IBS treatment is self-care, which includes stress management, diet modification, and exercise. And increasingly, people with IBS are turning to technology for help with these self-care measures.
Signs and Symptoms of IBS
The most common symptom of IBS is abdominal pain or cramping, which is usually relieved by bowel movements. Other symptoms include diarrhea and/or constipation.
Most people with IBS have mild symptoms that can be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. However, some people have severe symptoms that interfere with their everyday activities.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to consult a healthcare professional to rule out other potential causes, before exploring non pharmacological treatment for your symptoms.
Non-pharmacological treatments for IBS
There are several possible options in the treatment of IBS, including diet modification, stress management, and exercise. Increasingly, people with IBS are turning to technology for help with these self-care measures.
One popular option is the FODMAP diet, which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. This diet eliminates certain types of carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms in people with IBS. Another option is the low-FODMAP diet, which is a modified version of the FODMAP diet that allows some types of carbohydrates back into the diet.
Stress management techniques such as relaxation therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can also be helpful in reducing symptoms of IBS.
Also not to be underestimated, regular exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for people with IBS.
If you're suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of IBS, one or more of these non-pharmacological treatments may be right for you.
However, if you're experiencing severe symptoms or your symptoms are not relieved by lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, it's important to consult a healthcare professional.
How apps can help people with IBS
There are a growing number of apps that offer help with managing stress, modifying diet, and getting regular exercise – all important aspects of IBS treatment.
Some important features are:
information on which foods are high in fiber (good for IBS sufferers) and low in fiber (to be avoided);
tracking of symptoms, medications, and diet to identify triggers;
use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help people with chronic pain conditions like IBS;
information and resources on how exercise can help relieve symptoms of IBS, and help introducing it into daily life and maintaining the habit;
information on FODMAP or low-FODMAP diet, with or without a diary to link symptoms to certain foods.
Zemedy is an evidence-based digital therapeutics IBS care program that was developed specifically to help people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and limit the effect of IBS symptoms on their quality of life. The app provides a 6-week digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program to help users manage their IBS symptoms, track their progress with stats, goals and rewards, and learn more about their condition. The app also includes a 7-day planning tool to help users schedule IBS-related tasks, a library of engaging content, and a Flare Mode tool to provide fast relief for sudden symptoms.
Low FODMAP diet is an app that can help IBS sufferers manage their disease by avoiding trigger foods. It includes a clear and simple FODMAP rating system, a database of 600+ everyday foods and ingredients, and a breakdown of each FODMAP rating.
Bowelle is designed to be the quickest, most easy-to-use food & symptom diary on the App Store. Beautiful visual representations make it easier to discover patterns and determine how you feel over longer periods of time. You can track how you feel, what you eat, water intake, stress levels, bowel movements, and take notes. By keeping a diary, you may learn significantly more about your patterns and possible triggers.
Cara Care is an app that can help patients with irritable bowel manage their condition. The app allows users to track their symptoms, food, water, stress and poop, and helps identify triggers. It also provides a 12-week IBS program that helps users follow the low FODMAP diet.
There's no cure for IBS, but there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. One important aspect of IBS treatment is self-care, which includes stress management, diet modification, and exercise. And increasingly, people with IBS are turning to technology for help with these self-care measures, and gain a lot from it.
Your health care professional can help you choose
Feeling confident is important. Get all the essential information about health apps by talking to your healthcare professional.
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