Suffering in Silence - Research from Love Your Gut
New research* reveals people are shying away from discussing gut health. Over half of us (59%) are suffering with gut health symptoms, but new research for Love Your Gut Week (16-22 September 2019) reveals the shocking extent to which people are shying away from talking about their digestive health with friends and family, colleagues and even medical professionals. This is despite the huge impact that gut health conditions can have on every aspect of daily life.
Of those experiencing gut health symptoms, close to a third have not visited a medical professional to discuss these and many are not even sharing their digestive health worries with those closest to them. When respondents were asked about who had approached them to talk about gut health worries, only 1 in 5 people said their partner had tried to talk to them about this.
The results show that digestive health is most definitely considered a taboo topic, but it is important that people don’t suffer in silence, as gut health conditions can have a big impact on all areas of life. Of those with digestive health issues;
• 1 in 3 worry about leaving the house in case they aren’t able to find a bathroom
• 1 in 10 take a change of underwear with them when going out
• 1 in 10 have cancelled plans with friends due to digestive symptoms and a similar number have even suffered with depression because of it
• 15% of people have worried about colleagues thinking they were ‘skiving’ when they have spent an extended period of time in the toilet and a similar amount have had to take a day off due to their gut health symptoms
This new research reveals the benefits that talking can offer to those suffering with gut health conditions. Of those surveyed, over a third said they felt less worried or stressed after talking to friends or family and many said these conversations prompted them to book a medical appointment.
After visiting and talking to a medical professional, nearly a quarter felt a sense of relief due to receiving a diagnosis, 17% felt less worried or stressed and a similar amount felt more confident on how to manage their symptoms.
Suffering gut health issues in silence can be isolating, stressful and even make symptoms worse, so it is important for people to share their symptoms and worries with people who matter.
As Love Your Gut dietitian Jo Travers says; “Talking about your problems puts the other people in your life in the picture, and this is no different for digestive issues. Dealing with digestive problems alone can be stressful and isolating. Once your partner, friend or co-worker knows the challenges you face, you can give them the opportunity not only to understand your situation, but also to support you.”
Love Your Gut is actively encouraging everyone to discuss digestive health worries during Love Your Gut Week to lessen the ‘talking taboo’. To that end they are launching a new free-to-download #GutTalk Guide The guide contains expert tips on how to talk to your healthcare professional, friends & family, employers, colleagues and new love interests. Share the #GutTalk Guide with your patients, friends and family to encourage everyone to talk more about their gut health!
* The research was carried out by Mortar London who conducted an online survey among 1,050 respondents across the UK and the Republic of Ireland (1,000 UK/50 ROI) between 16th and 19th July 2019. The sample of adults was randomly selected and weighted to be representative of the UK population for age, gender and region.