How Technology Makes Living with IBD Easier

B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

Living with IBD can be hard- even on a good day.  Luckily with new advances in technology and the wide range of integrated apps available these days, there are new ways to make day to day life easier.  Here are some unique ways those living with a chronic condition can add a little IBD technology to their day!

Symptom tracking

One of my favorite ways to track IBD symptoms is through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s GI Buddy tool. GI Buddy can track symptoms, medications, diet and exercise, as well as the overall impact of IBD on your daily life.  You can set the program to remind you about medications, and even e-mail reports about your IBD to your physician.  This is a great tool to make sure your physician gets an accurate representation of what is going on with your condition and can help to red flag potential flare ups before they get out of control.

This tracking tool can be used on your desktop or as an app for android or iPhone.  If you aren’t already started using this tool, check out the YouTube tutorial that explains it in greater detail.

Restroom finders

Finding a clean bathroom while you are out and on the go is essential when you have IBD.  The Charmin Sit or Squat App maps out public restrooms and rates them for you, so you don’t have to guess whether they are clean or dirty.  A green toilet paper roll for “sit” indicates a clean restroom, while red toilet paper rolls indicate a less desirable restroom, or a “squat” location.

Saving money on prescriptions

One of the burdens of dealing with IBD or any chronic health condition can be managing the cost of prescription medications. can help you compare the prices from different pharmacies for the same prescription. If that doesn’t offer you enough of a discount try checking the $4 and $5 generic lists from pharmacies such as WalMart or Walgreens.  If you have a prescription coverage plan, contact the provider and ask them about the cheapest way to buy your prescription.  Many offer a three month supply for a discounted rate.  Using these tools our family saved almost $200 a month!

Support groups

Living with IBD can be very isolating, especially if you don’t know anyone else who deals with a digestive disease. Support groups can be essential in helping patients cope. Unfortunately, not all cities offer an “in person” support group locally, and even when they are available it’s not always practical for someone dealing with a flare up to get out to a support group appointment.  That is where technology can come in really handy.  The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s online support group, Crohn’s and Colitis Community is a wonderful place to start.  They have an active support group and forum along with tons of great information, personal stories and a resource center.

Pill-sized camera

One of the neatest tech devices in the effort to make digestive diseases and testing more manageable is the pill-sized camera.  Once swallowed, this tiny camera takes pictures all throughout the digestive tract.  This can be hugely beneficial for patients who can’t do the classic colonoscopy or endoscopy due to previous surgeries, medical issues or fear of the procedure.  Check with your physician and insurance to see if this option might work for you.

From apps to online support groups and pill sized cameras,  technology is helping people deal with the day-to-day struggles of living with IBD.  If you have not utilized any of these resources, check them out!  Do you have a favorite resource that wasn’t listed here?  Please list it below in the comment section.** See More Helpful Articles:**

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Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).