• Masarat Jilani

4 reasons you should track IBS symptoms

IBS can make your life difficult - spending excessive time in the bathroom or dealing with an unexpected flare-up can prevent us from enjoying the life we deserve. Surprisingly, tracking your symptoms is a great way to treat irritable bowel syndrome at home.

Why track IBS symptoms?

Personalised plans

Everyone’s gut is unique and complex. There are millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses forming a microbiome helping to create hormones and chemicals to aid digestion. In fact, the gut, the microbiome and the nerves which supply it are like a second brain. And just like our brain gives us a unique personality, your gut has its own one at that.

That’s why, no matter what research papers or doctors tell you, only you can know your gut best.

By tracking your symptoms and triggers, you can identify and understand your personal version of IBS.

You can analyze your unique triggers - maybe it is dairy, or is it stress? By tracking the symptoms and the possible links you can learn more about your unique gut and what triggers IBS for you

Talking about possible patterns or triggers with your doctor will help them give you the best-personalised care, catered to the needs of your gut. They can advise a treatment plan which is designed specifically for you and that makes it more likely for you to succeed!

Empower yourself

Knowing how IBS is affecting your gut can really empower you to take back control in your life. You can make the correct lifestyle changes to tackle the irritable bowel and make it into a happy one instead. Being an expert in your own condition will also give you that mental boost. You will be able to identify when a potential flare-up may occur, so IBS loses its element of surprise. You will gain the confidence to no longer fear the condition, but actually maintain it. Through this, you have the power to trust your gut again!

Identify changes and progress easily

There are hundreds of treatments for IBS out there, some of them are evidence-based and some of them not so much… But by tracking your symptoms, you’ll be able to see which ones are actually working for you. In the hectic state of daily life, we can easily forget what happened yesterday or mix up the order of events. By tracking symptoms regularly, we can see exactly what is happening and see the facts clearly without having to worry about wracking our memories. You can notice more subtle changes and see what’s working for you and what isn’t.

What to track?

Now we know that tracking is a good idea, what should we track? Tracking specific symptoms like abdominal pain, frequency of opening your bowels, bowel consistency, gas symptoms, an urgency to poop and, on the contrary, having trouble fully emptying your bowel, are all things that can be useful to track. Alongside this, you can track any potential triggers such as food, stress, exercise, sleep disturbances or their effect on your life.

You can be as detailed as you like, listing when you ate certain foods or when certain stresses or exercises happened during the day. You may find it useful to note down how the food was prepared, spice content and whether you ate it alone or with your mates.

It may become difficult or downright tedious to continuously track things, but there are apps out there including our very own Zemedy which can help.

Zemedy has a 7-day symptom log as well as a daily check-in to help keep things manageable and easy. The app also has clinical tools like IBS Severity Score, Quality of Life Measure and Visceral Sensitivity Index, so you can even share it with your doctor.

Whatever method you use, it’s definitely important to start tracking your IBS. Because, when it comes to IBS, knowing your enemy really pays off.

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