1 in 3 people with IBS have turned down date over fear of symptoms cropping up

Adults who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other gut conditions admit they have missed over six days of work and the same number of social occasions in the last year. Pains, bloating and tiredness have contributed to dodging such plans according to a survey of 1,000 British sufferers.

Though not considered as serious as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes inflammation and can serious damage the digestive system, IBS still results in symptoms like frequent gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and nausea.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by UK gut health supplement Symprove, reveals that 66 percent admit they suffer in silence when it comes to their stomach and gut health issues. More than a quarter say IBS is making a significant impact on their life.

For example, a third of respondents have turned down a date due to the fear of discomfort from IBS symptoms. And over half confess to being embarrassed when it comes to their stomach issues. Of those left mortified of talking about it, 50 percent didn’t think it was a topic appropriate to discuss openly and 52 percent don’t believe people would understand the extent of the problem.

Another 44 percent worry others would try and make light of a serious issue.

And aside from sex, IBS was at the top of conversations respondents would never wish to talk about at the dinner table. To avoid an awkward conversation, half have tried to change the subject as quickly as possible, and 38 percent have made an excuse to exit the discussion altogether.

Nearly four in 10 have even upped and left mid-chat. However, 58 percent admit they have missed out on more support due to not being open about their IBS battle.

With more than half feeling controlled by their toilet needs, seven in 10 sufferers agree that there is a lack of understanding generally within society, leaving them feeling frustrated, demoralized and sad. Yet only 57 percent have sought medical advice for their situation, with a trip to their doctor, a specialist or an online search the top ways.

The research also reveals that 58 percent wish to see a better representation of IBS in society.

More than six in 10 have tried to use products to ease their discomfort with relative success. In all, two-thirds of that segment say they had positive experience.

An estimated one in five people in the UK suffer from IBS, and such issues don’t discriminate. British singer Alexandra Burke opened up to South West News Service on her own struggles following the research.

“I’ve experienced the effects of IBS first hand and I know only too well how an unhappy tummy can have a huge impact on your life,” she said. “Despite gut issues being so widespread I wasn’t shocked to see this latest research revealing that two thirds of us suffer in silence when it comes to our gut health. I was one of those people until I eventually spoke to my doctor after years of discomfort. I’m passionate about encouraging people to talk about gut issues so that more people can find a happy solution.”


  1. Skipped a social event
  2. Not eaten a meal someone has cooked for you
  3. Avoided staying away from home
  4. Not gone in to work
  5. Avoided exercising
  6. Missed a major occasion e.g., birthday party / wedding
  7. Avoided staying away from home overnight
  8. Missed a vacation
  9. Declined a date
  10. Didn’t go to school

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