This month is IBS Awareness Month. Not surprisingly, given the number of customers we speak to who struggle to maintain their gut bacteria balance, this is a subject very close to our hearts. The IBS Network are working extra hard this month to raise the profile of IBS across the country, and help those suffering to understand what having the condition might mean for them.
There are around 10 million IBS sufferers in the UK, meaning that even if you aren’t a sufferer, chances are that you have a family member or someone you work with who does, even if you are not aware of it.
Sufferers sometimes feel that the condition isn’t taken seriously enough, but with the impact it can have on diet, relationships and careers, it is certainly considered ‘serious’ by those who have it. The worst 3% of sufferers are bed bound or house bound.
We have conducted some research into some of the common misconceptions about IBS, as well as the likely struggles that someone suffering with it might have. The results of this study highlighted once again the need to keep raising the profile of IBS and helping people to reduce their symptoms as much as they can.
The study shows us that almost 40% agree that there is a stigma around IBS, making it hard for sufferers to talk about how they feel and how they are coping with symptoms. Due to this, sadly, 1 in 5 of those who suffer with IBS admit it affects their mental health, and the same number report that it affects their personal relationships. A staggering third of sufferers say that IBS impacts their careers.
Despite 3 in 5 saying that they have suffered such symptoms as stomach cramps, bloating and constipation, and a significant number having diarrhea, only 1 in 5 will actually say they suffer with IBS. And often, perhaps because over half of those questioned feel that the medical profession don’t take the condition seriously enough, two thirds would not actually visit the doctor and a third would try to treat their symptoms naturally. One of the saddest misconceptions is that a quarter of people wrongly assume that there is a ‘cure’ for IBS.
The cost of diagnosing IBS in the UK is an alarmingly high figure – £35 million. However, drugs prescribed for IBS don’t really have any long-term benefits because of the side effects. This also means that IBS patients can take up a lot of a GPs time, as there is a need to keep returning in a search for ways to help reduce symptoms.
All of this reminds us here at Symprove of the continued need to look at how balanced the bacteria in your gut is, and how that symbiotic relationship between active bacteria and your intestine will work to maintain general health and other process like breaking down food. It can be all too easy to disrupt the balance of gut bacteria with a poor diet, taking a course of antibiotics, or suffering from stress. Symprove, with its multi-strain, live and active bacteria can help support a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
So, in this month of IBS awareness, let’s hope that the greater focus on reducing the stigma of the condition and continued research into ways to reduce the debilitating symptoms that sufferers cope with on a daily basis reaches more people than ever before.
Are you affected by IBS? Which of the statistics we’ve highlighted here has surprised you the most, or resonated with you the most? Let us know by contacting us on Facebook or Twitter or through our Instagram page – we’d love to hear from you.