I’ve been thinking a lot about my product development so far, and the ideation I’ve come up with, and I think my idea is too specific to a certain genre of healthcare. I’m really not as passionate as I was about it, and I think I could come up with some great new ideas if I started now and worked on something different.
I would need to catch up on parts such as ideation, branding and wireframes, but I believe I should be passionate about my work and the sleep app seems like an overused idea anyway. I want to create something that I personally can relate with as well – something that I know would actually benefit the user, from my own experience.
The new subject matter that I wish to base my product around is IBS. It’s something I’ve struggled with from a young age, as well as known others in my family who’ve lived with it, so I know a lot about the subject already, and what a product used to help the issue would include, such as dietary and mental health needs.
Before I get started, I want to gather some research of my own about IBS before jumping into visual research and wire-framing. I’ve compiled a bit of my research here as a sort of bank to refer back to when I need to, and to also show what I’ve learned about the issue during the project.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is classified as a functional gastrointestinal disorder, is a chronic condition of the lower gastrointestinal tract that affects as many as 15% of adults. Not easily characterised by structural abnormalities, infection, or metabolic disturbances, the underlying mechanisms of IBS have for many years remained unclear. Recent research, however, has lead to an increased understanding of IBS. As a result, IBS is now considered an organic and, most likely, neurologic bowel disorder. IBS is often referred to as spastic, nervous or irritable colon. Its hallmark is abdominal pain or discomfort associated with a change in the consistency and/or frequency of bowel movements. Although the causes of IBS have not to date been fully elucidated, it is believed that symptoms can occur as a result of a combination of factors, including visceral hypersensitivity, altered bowel motility, neurotransmitters imbalance, infection and psychosocial factors
Living with IBS is a constant battle; a battle that can leave you frustrated and often feeling exhausted.
IBS doesn’t have an end, not really. It’s always there, lingering over your shoulder, awaiting the next opportunity to pounce. I try not to be negative or saddened by my IBS, and in some ways, I am thankful. I have grown much more aware of healthy eating, the importance of exercise and the benefits of looking after my mind. I have developed a real love for home-cooking, experimenting with new recipes and sharing the IBS friendly food I make with friends and family. I am also very proud of myself every time I have a successful bowel movement; those of you with IBS will relate.
What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a group of symptoms that affect your digestive system. It’s a common but uncomfortable gastrointestinal disorder. People with IBS get excessive gas, abdominal pain and cramps.
What is a functional GI disorder?
IBS is a type of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. These conditions, also called disorders of the gut-brain interaction, have to do with problems in how your gut and brain work together.
These problems cause your digestive tract to be very sensitive. They also change how your bowel muscles contract. The result is abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation.
What are the different types of IBS?
Researchers categorize IBS based on the type of bowel movement problems you have. The kind of IBS can affect your treatment. Certain medicines only work for certain types of IBS.
Often, people with IBS have normal bowel movements some days and abnormal ones on other days. The type of IBS you have depends on the abnormal bowel movements you experience:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C): Most of your poop is hard and lumpy.
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): Most of your poop is loose and watery.
- IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): You have both hard and lumpy bowel movements and loose and watery movements on the same day.
How does IBS affect my body?
In people with IBS, the colon muscle tends to contract more than in people without the condition. These contractions cause cramps and pain. People with IBS also tend to have a lower pain tolerance. Research has also suggested that people with IBS may have excess bacteria in the GI tract, contributing to symptoms.
What are other names for IBS?
You may hear these names for IBS:
- Irritable bowel.
- Irritable colon.
- Spastic colon.
- Nervous stomach, since symptoms often happen when you’re feeling emotional stress, tension and anxiety.
Who is at risk for developing IBS?
The condition most often occurs in people in their late teens to early 40s. Women can be twice as likely than men to get IBS. IBS may happen to multiple family members.
You may be at higher risk if you have:
- Family history of IBS.
- Emotional stress, tension or anxiety.
- Food intolerance.
- History of physical or sexual abuse.
- Severe digestive tract infection.
What triggers IBS?
If you have IBS, you may have noticed that certain things trigger symptoms. Common triggers include some foods and medication. Emotional stress can also be a trigger. Some researchers suggest that IBS is the gut’s response to life’s stressors.
How common is IBS?
Experts estimate that about 10% to 15% of the adult population in the United States have IBS. However, only 5% to 7% receive an IBS diagnosis. It’s the most common disease that gastroenterologists diagnose.
What are the causes of IBS?
Researchers don’t exactly know what causes IBS. They think a combination of factors can lead to IBS, including:
- Dysmotility: Problems with how your GI muscles contract and move food through the GI tract.
- Visceral hypersensitivity: Extra-sensitive nerves in the GI tract.
- Brain-gut dysfunction: Miscommunication between nerves in the brain and gut.
What are IBS symptoms?
Symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal pain or cramps, usually in the lower half of the abdomen.
- Bowel movements that are harder or looser than usual.
- Diarrhea, constipation or alternating between the two.
- Excess gas.
- Mucus in your poop (may look whitish).
Women with IBS may find that symptoms flare up during their periods. These symptoms often happen again and again, which can make you feel stressed or upset. As you learn management techniques and gain control over flare-ups, you’ll start to feel better, physically and mentally.
How is IBS diagnosed?
If you’ve been having uncomfortable GI symptoms, see your healthcare provider. The first step in diagnosing IBS is a medical history and a physical exam. Your provider will ask you about your symptoms:
- Do you have pain related to bowel movements?
- Do you notice a change in how often you have a bowel movement?
- Has there been a change in how your poop looks?
- How often do you have symptoms?
- When did your symptoms start?
- What medicines do you take?
- Have you been sick or had a stressful event in your life recently?
Depending on your symptoms, you may need other tests to confirm a diagnosis. Blood tests, stool samples and X-rays can help rule out other diseases that mimic IBS.
Contrary to common thought, the conception of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is relatively old, even if the current term dates from as recently as 1944. Long ago, several ancient, and disparate terms, some of them corresponding to currently exceptional clinical pictures, were used. Does that mean that these banal complaints, currently of prime importance among the clinical signs in gastroenterology, were left aside in favor of more severe disease? Surely this is not the case because functional pain has always existed, the only problem is to know whether it was or could be recognized. It was Amboise Paré who first mentioned an ancestor to the IBS when he spoke of “windy colic” (Le Miroir de Beauté et de Santé Corporelle). The glorious kingdom of nervous, chemical, motor, buccal, and intestinal disorders predominated in Gastroenterology at the end of the nineteenth century and the two diseases suggesting functional intestinal problems, i.e. enteroptosis and chronic intestinal stasis, were relegated to second place. Mucomembraneous entercolitis represents one of the most illustrated and widely described offsprings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, progress in roentgenology has allowed to dismember the category of colitis and distinguish between functional and organic diseases. Of the many terms used, “nervous colic” and “irritable intestine” are two which suggest the pathophysiological duality of the disease. Further development of studies on colonic and intestinal motility should allow to identify the authentic motor disorders, even though some etiologies may still go recognized.