I’ve tried a lot of different apps to monitor my health over the years. I find them easier to work with then pencil and paper (especially during the last few years when writing wasn’t an option) and having something easily available on my phone (which is always with me) is much better than a spreadsheet that isn’t. Basically, I’m much more likely to actually use an app on my phone than any other tool.
The one problem I’ve ran into with most apps is that they aren’t complete enough, I can monitor one aspect of my health (gut health or migraines) but not the others. The problem with chronic illness is that they all tend to be inter-related. At times I’ve found myself using four different apps to monitor all the different aspects of my health. Wouldn’t it be nicer if there was just one that could do it all?
Enter Gut Health Storylines
Don’t be deceived by the name. I know I was at first. My thought went to “great yet another app focused on a singular issue.” Thankfully, this app is different. The goal is to encompass your entire health picture and how it interacts with your gut health. So, while it has an area to monitor your stool, it also has an area where you can add all the symptoms you want to track, and then see how they interact over time.
One of my favorite things about the HealthStorylines Gut Health app is that you aren’t expected to enter your symptoms all day throughout the day. To me, when you do this you are forcing yourself to focus on the symptoms and your illness and it often increases the symptoms. This is one reason I stopped tracking my symptoms years ago and started just noting specific things. For instance, I use a migraine app to only track when I have a migraine, what I take for it, and how long it lasts (did the meds work?). I’ve also used a food diary app in the past to try to cross-check what foods were causing me digestive issues but that required tracking every food I ate and every poop I’d take (I’ll be watching you….), so I didn’t keep that up for long.
With the HealthStorylines apps I can log things once at the end of the day. The app will remind me at the end of the day to check in with it. Then I can go through and enter my mood for the day (adding notes if I desire to explain), and I track my symptoms on a scale of 1-10. It’s overall for the day rather than moment to moment. And, finally it asks what the overall impact of your symptoms were on your day.
Because I chose what symptoms to track I’m not being asked about things that don’t apply to me (or that I don’t feel the need to worry about). Sure, I have more symptoms than I track, but I choose to track the ones that are most likely to affect my day.
There are some downsides to the app (or some things I’ve not quite figured out how to do, I’m not sure which) related to the gut health monitoring. When it comes to tracking what I eat and how I poop it would be good to backdate entries, but it seems that things are timestamped when you enter them. So, if I forget to enter a morning poop till the evening it shows up as having occured in the evening (making it hard to link to a meal). The same goes for the meal tracking.
Also, I’ve not found a way to go in and edit entries. The food diary asks you for reactions when you enter the food, and often you may not see reactions till even a day later. It would be great if these two items were separated and an algorithm was used to match them up.
This app has so much more to it though. In addition to basic symptom monitoring, it also offers some great tools to help you keep a positive focus. I love the journal aspect and the prompts that are provided. I think this tool would be especially great for those who are just getting started trying to keep track of their thoughts regarding their illness. The prompts like “three things I’m thankful for today” and “accomplishments made” help you stay focused on moving forward.
There’s also a great little tool called “Healthy Doses”. You’d expect it to be filled with tips and exercise and eating right, but thankfully it’s not. Instead, again it’s focused on staying positive and on small positive intentions, like gratitude and optimism, humor and love.
HealthStorylines Gut Health app is a health tracking app but it’s so much more and best of all it’s what you want it to be. I mean you can use it to just track your gut health, to track all of your symptoms, or to be a complete picture of your physical and mental health as well as to help you stay on track.
HealthStorylines has a number of different apps available for different illnesses, depending on your needs, but each one can be customized to fit YOU and to work with the different illnesses you live with, whether one or many. Plus, it’s free (and you can’t beat that).
If you are looking for a good way to start tracking your health and stay focused on positive improvements, then I highly recommend that you download the Health Storylines Gut Health app (or whichever of their apps you feel is a best fit for you) and give it a try.