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New Survey Findings Reveal the Physical, Social and Emotional Impact of IBS

New Survey Findings Reveal the Physical, Social and Emotional Impact of IBS

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S. Symptoms may result in changes in normal bowel movement and sensation, which can cause chronic or recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or both. Long-term symptoms can disrupt personal and professional activities, and limit individual potential.

My oldest son Jedi was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease earlier this year. While far more severe than IBS, some of the symptoms are the same. Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, cramping and sudden urgency of having to use the restroom are all a part of his daily life.

When we received the official news of my son’s medical condition, I was devastated. However, as a mom, I knew that my first priority was to learn everything that I could – not only about the condition itself, the symptoms, and treatment and management options, but also about the possible impact of his physical, social, and emotional well-being. I wanted to know what to expect, the best ways to help him manage day-to-day, and all I could do to ensure that he has a good quality of life.

Nowadays, I seek out resources and the latest information on Crohn’s as well as IBS. Doing so helps me to have a better understanding of what he is going through, and the ways that I can support him in his journey. One of the latest sources that I found was a recent survey that focused on IBS in America, and the experiences patients have in managing daily life. Things that most people take for granted – like the short-term after-effects of overindulging during the Holiday season or an otherwise large meal for a special occasion – are long-term for the nearly 35 million Americans who have IBS. In fact, seven in 10 respondents of the survey stated that such effects are persistent for them throughout the entire year, whether they eat a large meal or not: happening as often as 2-3 (or more) per week. Nearly 22 percent of respondents stated that they have no way to know for sure when the symptoms will start or stop.

With him entering his first year of college, I was highly concerned about his symptoms interfering with his school productivity and performance. I was also concerned about his emotional state, and the impact his symptoms would have on him socially. I decided to create an action plan for clearly communicating with his medical condition with his professors; as well as a plan for days he may miss school when his symptoms were too severe. We also talked about ways he can avoid feeling embarrassed or ashamed of his symptoms while on campus or in study groups with fellow classmates. The results from the IBS in America proved that I took the right course of action, indicating that symptoms usually interfered with regular daily activity nine days each month on average, and caused an absence from school and/or work an average of two days per month.

.Physical, Social and Emotional Impact of IBS.

Physical, Social and Emotional Impact of IBSThe silver lining in all of this is that my son is now under the proper care of a Gastrologist and receiving medical treatment. Although, getting to this point was not easy – mainly because I was unaware of how serious his symptoms were in the beginning, and like 77 percent of other sufferers of similar symptoms, I believed they were mild and could be treated with over-the-counter treatments. It wasn’t until my son had to be rushed to the ER that we both realized much more was going on. Feeling comfortable to open up about all that he was experiencing in his body wasn’t easy, but doing so helped the hospital staff guide him to the best doctor for his needs – and the results have been not only very satisfying, but very relieving.

 

Looking back on the past few months from where this all began, I wish that I would have taken my son to a doctor right away instead of trying to take the route of self-care. I also wished that I would have encouraged him more to speak up earlier and more completely at the first onset of his symptoms. Now that we have everything established, both of us have made a resolution to take better care of his GI health. His condition is lifelong, but with excellent and thorough communication and professional care, my son can go on to have the full, productive, and healthy life that he so truly deserves.

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Physical, Social and Emotional Impact of IBSIf you or a loved one can relate to recurring abdominal and bowel symptoms, know that there are resources available to help gain a better understanding and take a more proactive, direct approach to health. Visit the IBS in America website here for more information. You can also join the conversation and share experiences and resources online with the hashtag: #IBSinAmerica.

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impact of IBS

Physical, Social and Emotional Impact of IBSWhile all experiences and opinions are my own, this post is sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), which commissioned the “IBS in America” survey, the most comprehensive IBS survey of both patients and physicians ever conducted, polling more than 3,200 sufferers and 300 physicians to better understand this condition, with the financial support of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Allergan plc. For full survey results, visit http://bit.ly/1LwtDgp.

Impact of IBS

Makeba Giles is a Digital Content Producer and Founder of Faith Health and Home, a digital space with information and resources for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to help families live an inspired lifestyle.

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33 Comments
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Robin
Robin

My sister has IBS. She suffered for years before she was finally diagnosed, but she has it under control now thankfully.

Stacie

IBS is such a horrible thing. I have a family member with it, and they suffered for years before they finally gave in and asked for help.

Emerald

I can see how people would hate to talk to anyone, even their doctor, about this condition. I think it’s important to remember that that’s what our doctor’s are there for, though.

Meagan
Meagan

I know someone who has suffered with IBS most of her life – what a terrible thing! It’s good to know that there are such awesome resources out there!

Marcie W.

I suffer from stomach issues due to dairy sensitivities but could never imagine having to deal with that all the time. It’s great to know there are informational resources available.

Liz
Liz

IBS seems like such a common problem. It’s definitely a good idea to be proactive! It may be hard to discuss but it’s important.

Kim
Kim

IBS is not fun. I thought I had it a while back, so I took precautions. All though I don’t, I sure feel better now that I’m eating better.

Chasing Joy

I have been hearing more and more about this lately. I’m glad your son is getting the proper care and heading off to college. It sounds like you guys have laid the proper foundsation for him to do just fine.

Ora Lee Gurr

It’s good you took a proactive position on knowing about your son’s condition and ways to help him out. I’m glad your son has let his professors know what’s going on so he’s not called on it. I learned a lot about IBS in this article.

Toni

I feel like the medical community is only now getting on top of conditions like IBS since the symptoms can get for other things. My kids and I have had to be gluten-free for a decade and similarly are fortunate to have had medical professionals recognize the cause and address it quickly. At least your son knows how to navigate knowing his condition and has a great team, including a great MOM, behind him.

Kiwi

I had a friend who was secretly suffering with IBS. Its not the most fun topic to talk about but thanks for shedding light on this!

Shell

My brother has Chron’s. It took a while for the doctors to figure it out. He really suffered before they figured it out.

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