By Patricia Salber
Hey, all you Quantified-Selfers (QSs), did you know that iTunes has a special section in the iTunes App store just for you? It is called Track and Share, LLC. There is not too much in there…yet. But I am confident that the selection will increase rapidly. After all there are more than 600 trackers, many of them mobile phone apps reviewed on the Quantified Self website.
Today, I want to concentrate on the Bowel Mover app. There are two versions – the free one called Bowel Mover Lite and the one you pay for ($2.99), Bowel Mover Pro. Being cheap, I opted for the free one to start with. The only difference between the two version is that the Lite version has ads….they don’t bother me a bit.
The home screen has the following categories to track:
The Bowel Mover tracker screen is easy to use. There is a slick numbered wheel that you can spin to enter the number of BMs you have had that day. There is space to make a note (not sure what you put here….color? what you ate?) The next section is for entering the consistency: liquid, soft, normal, lumpy, hard. There is a another spinning wheel that lets you dial and select the one you want.
You can also track how much water you drink each day and whether you were stressed (none, mild, moderate, severe). For those who are gluten intolerant or at least gluten worried, you can check a box each day you are gluten free. Finally, there is a place to make notes…free form…write whatever you want. You can also take photos and upload them to the note section.
There is a graphing function that lets you visualize how you are doing compared to goal. The goals seem to be predetermined (e.g., goal is 1 BM per day with normal texture). I couldn’t see how to change the goals…hopefully future versions will allow this customization.
You can share your graphs with anyone you choose – hopefully they will want to get this info. The App suggests you may want to share with a coach, you also may want to share with your physician if you have been asked to keep this sort of record.
Now, some of you may be chuckling, but for folks with certain types gastrointestinal disorders (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome), it can be helpful in trying to make correlations between bad symptom days and other stuff going on in your life – diet, stress, coffee intake, and so forth.
It is this sort of correlation that I think will be one of the QS movement’s greatest contributions. Imagine having data from hundreds of thousands of self-trackers and mining it for relationships between symptoms and all sorts of other things going on in your world. This type of information, often pooh-poohed (pun intended) by traditional medicine in the past, could lead to a deeper understanding of disorders only incompletely understood at the present time.
By the way, google has let me know that Bowel Mover has some competitors out there. Here are a few that I found:
- Poop the World (start mappin’ what you’re crappin”) – this one is pretty funny and probably best not forwarded to your doctor (unless he/she has a really good sense of humor: