IBS – It’s not all in your head!

18th September 2020

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a very common digestive disorder affecting nearly 1 in 20 of the UK population, which is around 3.2 million individuals. With this in mind, you’ll probably know multiple people with IBS!

What are the symptoms?

IBS is a disorder in the gut-brain axis (the way the gut and the brain communicate with one another). The symptoms are abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation or a mixture of both. Approximately one third of those with IBS suffer from bouts of constipation, one third suffer from bouts of diarrhoea and most other people don’t fall into a single pattern. Other symptoms include bloating and urgency. IBS affects more women than men, affecting all ethnicities.

What treatment is available?

Treatments are very individual, as they vary depending on symptoms. They can include medications, diet and lifestyle factors. It’s important to work alongside your doctor on what treatments you would like to try. But remember, IBS symptoms are individual, so what works for one person might not always work for another. The most important factor is to learn as much as you can about what is available to try.

Alarm Symptoms

These symptoms are not usually associated with IBS but may be associated with other diseases. If you experience any of these you should see your doctor as soon as possible, even if you have already been diagnosed with IBS and are finding symptoms have changed:

  • A persistent change of bowel habit for 4 weeks or longer, especially if you are over the age of 40
  • Passing blood from the back passage
  • Unintentional weight loss of more than 2kg (4 pounds) over a short period of time.
  • Diarrhoea waking you from sleep
  • Fever

The need to see a doctor is especially important if there is a family history of bowel disease (such as cancer, colitis or Crohn’s disease).

Busting the myths

IBS is all in your head!

No, this is not true. Symptoms are very real and can be distressing. The gut and brain are a two-way communication system that ‘talk’ to each other very often. Examples of this are feeling hungry – gut talking to brain, or feeling butterflies in the stomach, brain talking to gut. These are normal communications. However sometimes these two organs overshare information and because people with IBS have an overly sensitive gut (visceral hypersensitivity) this can result in symptoms.

ABOUT US:

Guts UK is the only UK charity funding research and providing crucial information for patients for the digestive system top to tail; the gut, liver and pancreas.

Our guts have been underfunded, understaffed and undervalued for decades. In the UK alone, millions suffer from digestive diseases and often have little or no treatment options. Guts UK exists to change that.

Join us today; help us get to grips with guts and change the lives of millions of people in the UK by supporting our work today.

DISCOVER MORE:

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • youtube
  • tiktok
  • instagram

Read more posts...

Free Gut Health Webinar!

Guts UK has joined forces with The Gut Stuff to bring you a free webinar. Together, we’ll explore the fascination that is the gut microbiome (the bugs in our guts) and how this influences our gut...

14th October 2021

A poo costume and a Professor – what a team!

On Sunday 22nd August this year we had our small but mighty team of runners take on the famous half marathon route through London for Guts UK! This incredible course weaves through some of London’s...

4th October 2021

Sister-in-laws with a mission!

Guts UK is thrilled to announce the fourth member of our London Marathon 2021 team, Sophie!  Meet Sophie: Sophie found out about our small but mighty charity through her sister in law Rebecca, who was...

15th September 2021

We need you to shape our research

People are suffering. People are dying. All because of the lack of knowledge about our guts. It’s time the UK got to grips with guts. Guts UK has opened a unique opportunity for you to...

8th September 2021

From Mountains to Marathons – Ethan’s Story

Guts UK were delighted to have five London Marathon places in 2021. When pulled names out of a toilet (very fitting), Ethan was one lucky winner! Meet our third runner, Ethan: The lovely Ethan was...

2nd August 2021