IBS Awareness Month 2023

1st April 2023

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. Figures vary, but it is thought that 1 in 20 of us in the UK have IBS.

What is IBS?

IBS is thought to be caused by the gut and the brain over-communicating. IBS is the most common disorder of the digestive system.

Symptoms can include:

  • Constipation, diarrhoea or a mixture of the two.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Abnormal bowel habits.
  • Wind, bloating and distension (a widening of the firth of the abdomen).
  • Pooing mucus.
  • 1/3 of IBS patients have bouts of constipation. Another 1/3 have bouts of diarrhoea. The final 1/3 don’t fall into a single pattern.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Nausea (feeling sick).
  • Backache.
  • Bladder symptoms.

How can IBS affect you?

People with IBS often report feeling misunderstood and unsupported. Those with IBS are twice as likely to take sick leave from work. People report a reduction in their confidence, enjoyment of life and some are housebound because of their symptoms.

Rahul’s experience:

“One thing I struggle with is being self-conscious when my symptoms are worse, such as when I have such bad bloating that I almost look pregnant, or when I accidentally fart in public and it smells really bad. There is a lot of stigma around discussing gut health, and many people believe it is too gross to talk about.”

Read Rahul’s full story here.

What is Guts UK Charity doing this IBS Awareness Month and beyond?


Collaboration is key:

Guts UK and Imodium® have joined forces for the first time in 2023 to tackle the stigma around gut health and diarrhoea. Combined we have over 100 years of expertise in gut health. Imodium® is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve diarrhoea, containing loperamide, which helps to gently slow the digestive system back into a normal rhythm.

How we are working together:

Imodium’s research found that 1 in 10 people globally suffer with diarrhoea frequently, and Guts UK’s research found that 51% of people delay seeking advice for their digestive symptoms for over 6 months. We want to encourage people to talk about their guts and seek help. You’re not alone.

On toilet doors across the country, we’ll be raising awareness of diarrhoea and gut health, and in pharmacies too. You may spot us in Men’s Health and Women’s Health, and magazines in pharmacists too.

Together, we are also sharing IBS stories throughout April too. Tiegan has IBS and can get diarrhoea on a weekly basis. Read her full story here.

“When I have flare-ups, I find heat is my best friend. A hot water bottle is so comforting and soothing, and eases cramping pains too. When I feel that my gut really isn’t going to be my friend today, and I know I’ve got a busy day ahead that involves leaving the house, I’ll take loperamide. Especially if I know where I’m going has limited toilet access. It’s a comfort to know I’ve done all I can to prepare myself for the day.” – Tiegan.


Imodium® are donating £20,000 to Guts UK Charity. With this generosity, Guts UK can reach and help more people than ever before. We’re empowering people to seek help, and not suffer in silence.

Read more about our collaboration here.


Change is finally happening for IBS research!

We’ve just announced the Top 10 Research Priorities for IBS, chosen by you.

In 2021, Guts UK began the process of identifying the Top 10 Research Priorities for IBS in the UK. It was important to us that patients, their families, carers and healthcare professionals decided this top 10 together, with equal voices.

IBS has been misunderstood for too long. This process has finally given us a direction for IBS research in the UK, decided by the people it affects the most.

What’s next?

The future looks brighter. This the first time you have been asked about what research you’d like to see into your condition. 

Now Guts UK is working hard to promote these questions and put them into ‘researchable’ format.

The National Institution of Health & Research allocate more research funding for conditions with PSPs, which we’re delighted to say that IBS now has!

Researchers applying for grants within the top 10 priority areas for IBS are more likely to be successful too!

See the complete Top 10 priorities by clicking here.


At Guts UK, we believe information is power! When armed with information, patients can take control of their health and make informed decisions.

We have expert and evidence-based information on IBS, that is reviewed by the experts both professionals and patients. We know there is a lot of misinformation out there about IBS. Guts UK is a place where those with IBS can find expertly-written, reliable information.

Click here to read our IBS information.


What can I do this IBS Awareness Month?

Guts UK’s work has the capacity to change lives. Your support makes it possible. Please consider donating £5 today to support our work. Together, we will get to grips with guts. Thank you.

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