/IBS does not exist despite 13m Brits having it, new research suggests

IBS does not exist despite 13m Brits having it, new research suggests



A common bowel condition suffered by millions of Brits may not actually exist, new research suggests.

Experts warn that 13 million Brits with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may be having the cause of the problem ignored.

Although symptoms include excess gas, bloating and severe diarrhoea, researchers found that it may not be one condition but a whole range of them.

Experts at the British College of Nutrition and Health reviewed 220 studies and categorised the causes into lifestyle – such as poor sleep – dietary factors and imbalances in gut bacteria.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects millions of Brits

 

Lead author Ben Brown, said IBS was an “umbrella diagnosis based on symptoms” but added “it’s not usually one thing”.

He said: “Unfortunately what often happens is they get given that label and told ‘there’s not much we can do about it’.

That’s not addressing the problem.”

The symptoms of IBS can be debilitating

A diagram illustrating how IBS affects the bowels

Read More

Top news stories from Mirror Online

At any one time IBS affects between 10-20% of the UK.

It is different and less severe than Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBDs) which include Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.

Victims face a daily struggle

By Dr Kevin Barrett, Gastrointestinal specialist at Royal College of GPs

IBS is a diagnosis that covers a broad range of symptoms and conditions, and should not be used as a term in isolation.

IBS symptoms overlap with those of other conditions, including colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis.

There is a link between the nerves in the gut and those in the brain. “A gut feeling” explains the sensations that occur in stressful situations.

These temporary symptoms give some insight into the day-to-day struggle that IBS can have on sufferers.

The psychological impact of IBS is
often underestimated but strategies to improve mental wellbeing are not followed often enough.

GPs follow NICE guidelines to investigate patients presenting with persistent lower abdominal symptoms.

Testing for anaemia, inflammation and coeliac disease forms the initial part of this pathway.

There are still conditions where IBS may not be the correct answer and GPs should be aware of patients whose symptoms do not respond to treatments, or whose symptoms change. They should be reassessed and may need a referral.

The role of the GP should be to provide a personalised approach to each patient, taking into account their symptoms and lifestyle, and providing guidance and support to tackle it in a holistic manner.

Dietary advice, medication, physical activity and psychological support are all important but providing all of this in a 10-minute consultation is difficult.

Original Source