Research of 1,000 adults who suffer from 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 those polled – while a third have turned down a date due to the fear of discomfort.
An estimated one in five people in the UK suffer from IBS, and such issues don’t discriminate, as singer Alexandra Burke opened up on her own struggles following the research commissioned by gut health supplement Symprove.
Alexandra said: “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.
“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 GP after years of discomfort. I’m passionate about encouraging people to talk about gut issues so that more people can find a happy solution.”
It also emerged 66 per cent admit they suffer in silence when it comes to their stomach and gut health issues, with more than a quarter reckoning it has a significant impact on their life.
And over half confess to being embarrassed when it comes to their stomach issues.
Of those left mortified of talking about it, 50 per cent didn’t think it was a topic appropriate to discuss openly and 52 per cent don’t believe people would understand the extent of the problem.
While 44 per cent worry others would try and make light of a serious issue.
And aside from sex, the topic was 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 per cent have made an excuse to exit the discussion altogether.
Nearly four in 10 have even upped and left mid-chat.
However, 58 per cent admit they have missed out on more support due to not being open about the topic.
With more than half feeling controlled by their toilet needs, 70 per cent reckon there is a lack of understanding generally within society, leaving them feeling frustrated, demoralised and sad.
Yet 57 per cent have sought medical advice for their situation, with a trip to their GP, a specialist or an online search the top ways.
The research, conducted via OnePoll also revealed 58 per cent wish to see a better representation of the condition in society – and more specialist understanding is sought by 56 per cent.
More than six in 10 have tried to use products to ease their discomfort with relative success as two thirds enjoyed a positive experience.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, speaking on behalf of Symprove, added: “IBS is far more common than we think. It affects up to one in five people in the UK over the course of their lifetime and is about twice as common among women as among men.
“Even though we’re starting to normalise the discussion around gut health, the impact bloating can have on self-esteem can be so destructive and the statistics uncovered by the research show there is more work to do.
“It’s vital that people know that there are things that they can do if they feel like their bloating is out of hand.”
TOP 10 WAYS SUFFERERS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY STOMACH DISCOMFORT
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 holiday
9. Declined a date
10. Didn’t go to school
To find out more about Alexandra Burke’s experiences visit – https://www.symprove.com/blogs/community/10-questions-with-alexandra-burke