About a third of people think they might have an undiagnosed condition with their gut – but won’t go to the doctor. A poll of 2,000 British adults shows that while diet, social life and confidence are affected by constant belly discomfort in these individuals, 46 percent of sufferers think it’s not serious enough to seek treatment.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll, finds that half of respondents say they strive to have a healthy gut. That said, just 27 percent feel like theirs is in a poor state. Common symptoms of poor gut health most frequently felt by respondents include gas, an upset stomach or feeling sluggish and tired. Feeling bloated, constipated or encountering cramps are other commonly encountered symptoms.
A quarter of those polled say the debilitating symptoms from their gut problems leaves them feeling less self-assured, and one in six are unable to meet others out as often as they would like. Results also show that one third of adults are left with feelings of anxiety as their mental health has taken a turn for the worse.
When it comes to diet, 39 percent of people say they are unable to eat what they want, which gets them down. Health experts say it’s important to tell your doctor about stomach discomfort and eating struggles.
“When it comes to our health, it’s time to start oversharing,” says Dr. Chris George, on behalf of Symprove Ltd, which commissioned the research, in a statement. “Talking about so-called ‘embarrassing’ digestive symptoms is the first step in our journeys to happier, healthier lifestyles as research has shown links between our gut microbiome and so many aspects of our overall health and wellbeing.”
The study found 57 percent of sufferers don’t take their gut health as seriously as they should. And this is despite more than a quarter feeling limited by menus in a restaurant. About a quarter (24 percent) have felt unable to socialize with others due to their worries. One in five have even missed important occasions as a result of their ill health – or felt unable to go to work.
Feelings of isolation have been experienced by 46 percent due to their gut health. Sadly, 39 per cent encounter a lack of sympathy from others despite their struggles.
Another 53 percent would love to improve the health of their gut, but don’t know how. Those trying to make improvements most commonly look to yogurt, bananas or beans to have a healthy impact. Yet 64 percent think people misunderstand gut health and the issues that come from it – and 56 percent don’t believe gut health is commonly enough known about.
Spicy foods, processed products and dairy were the items Brits most struggled with after eating.
More than a quarter wish there was more easily accessible support for gut health conditions, with a fifth preferring the idea of speaking to a specialist as one in six feels uncomfortable at the thought of explaining their toilet habits with a doctor.
“We know it can be tricky to talk about digestive symptoms, that’s why we are encouraging people to overshare,” says George. “Speak to your general practitioner, a dietitian or nutritionist, but especially your loved ones. Sharing is caring!”
TOP 10 POOR GUT HEALTH SYMPTOMS EXPERIENCED BY BRITS
2. An upset stomach
3. Feeling sluggish and tired
8. Skin irritation
9. Food intolerances
10. A low immune system
Article by 72Point writer Steve Richmond