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Addressing the isolation around IBS

A new study has highlighted  the isolation and loneliness that can be caused by  irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
IBS affects nearly one  million people in Ireland (one  in five), with females twice as  likely to be affected as males,  and younger females even more  so (18-40 years). The social stigma that comes with  it can be very embarrassing for sufferers,  according to a study carried out on behalf of Alflorex, which found that 29 per cent of IBS  sufferers believe there is still a big stigma associated with the syndrome. Wearing maternity clothes, researching toilet facilities and carrying toilet roll in a bag are just some of the exhausting measures IBS sufferers take before leaving home.

Alflorex highlighted that IBS can be a complex and debilitating condition for which there is no known cause, and that many doctors now agree that symptoms can be triggered by psychological, as well as physical factors. One common trigger of IBS is stress and recent research shows that the brain and gut are more connected than we might think.
Consultant Gastroenterologist, Dr Deirdre O’Donovan, of the Blackrock Clinic, in Dublin, commented: “IBS significantly affects the quality of life and patients can end up being isolated from friends, family, colleagues and even their partners as a result of IBS flare-ups. Symptoms such as unpredictable bowel movements mean they constantly need to be within reach of a toilet.”