Love Your Gut Week: 16th – 22nd September 2019
When your patients suffer with poor digestive health it can affect almost every aspect of their daily life; from work and socialising, to of course what they eat. Feeling too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms often means suffering in silence, which can be isolating, stressful and even make symptoms worse.
Love Your Gut Week 2019 will run from 16th – 22nd September and will provide an opportunity to tackle this ‘talking taboo’.
Throughout the week, Love Your Gut will seek to encourage sufferers to talk to their healthcare professional, friends, family and colleagues about their gut health and lessen the taboo surrounding the topic. Expert tips, new recipes, case studies and research will be shared throughout the week and you will also be able to download a free #GutTalk Guide.
Below, Love Your Gut dietitian Jo Travers shares tips on talking about gut health to friends and family. So, this Love Your Gut Week, take the time to encourage your patients, friends and family to #GutTalk to those who matter. And don’t forget to join in the conversation online using #GutTalk!
As Jo comments; “Lots of people don’t talk about their symptoms because they’re embarrassed, but everybody has a digestive system (and the evidence shows that about 40% of us have at least one symptom at any one time1) so you are not alone. Talking about gut health and problems can even help others with their symptoms, as well as helping you.”
1. Explain how your symptoms affect your life
Letting people know that your condition can affect the things you can do or eat helps them understand the impact your digestive health can have. Once they understand, they will realise why plans might need to change. If your friend suggests going for a pizza but it always makes you bloated for example, you could say, “Pizza doesn’t agree with me, I find it hard to digest and I always feel horrible afterwards. Could we get something else to eat?”
2. Don’t feel you need to overshare
Explaining specific symptoms can feel uncomfortable but keeping it general and saying you have ‘digestive problems’ or sharing the name of your condition will provide the information people need without you having to get too personal. If a friend asks why you cancelled plans for example, saying something like, “My gut was playing up and I felt really unwell” answers the question, as well as offering further discussion if that’s what you want.
3. Talk to people ahead of time
Digestive symptoms can be unpredictable, so talking to people in advance means they will know what to expect and saves you the trouble of explaining when you aren’t feeling well. If you are open and honest with your friends ahead of time for example, they are likely to be much more sympathetic if you have to cancel plans.
4. Don’t feel you have to take other people’s advice, who aren’t experts
Because many suffer with digestive symptoms, people sometimes want to share stories and advice. While it’s great that they want to help, everyone is different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Don’t be afraid to tell people that your needs differ from theirs.
1 NHS Eat Well. Common digestive problems and how to treat them https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/common-digestive-problems-and-how-to-treat-them/ [Accessed on 2.5.19]