Despite the fact that more people can openly talk about their health conditions, there are still certain health issues people don’t like to discuss because they think others will see them differently. One of those health issues is IBS. Now there’s a study that sheds some light on the topic.
A study recently released during Digestive Disease Week 2020 focused on the stigma around having IBS. More than 3,200 IBS patients were asked to take a questionnaire about how others perceive them, and if they had experienced any direct discrimination from family, friends, co-workers, or healthcare professionals.
The results reveal that IBS patients believe there is a certain amount of stigma that exists and that they may be discriminated against if they share a certain amount of information about their condition. The most common misperception they experience is the idea that IBS is something which can be easily controlled with lifestyle changes. Those who have a large social circle of friends and family have higher rates of perceived stigma that they keep to themselves. Interestingly, the majority of those who responded tend to be younger and have IBS-C, despite the fact that people with IBD also were sent the questionnaire.
More studies need to be done to confirm the stigma and discrimination people with IBS feel and to find out just how widespread it is. In the meantime, it’s good to know that you’re not alone when it comes to perception of IBS. Stigma can cause people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. Worst of all, stigma prevents people from seeking the help they need, which is why it’s so important to identify it when it occurs.