Came across this from a link on the BBC site. What I found interesting in the following article was the emphasis with regards IBS seems to be entirely upon stress. A vicious cycle. IBS symptoms cause stress, which cause more symptoms. Nothing about any other possible explanations. Obviously never heard of Dr. Chia... or enteroviruses or retroviruses... no folks it's all down to stress. I wonder if people had IBS centuries ago, you know when life wasn't very stressful? When all you had to worry about was trivial stuff like neigbouring clans invading your little hamlet and beating the living daylights out of you, or when you might next eat. http://www.theguttrust.org/news.asp#23 POSTED: 03 November 2009. Life with IBS Despite the financial worries of the last year, there is no evidence that IBS has increased in prevalence. This was the conclusion of a survey of Gut Trust members and family Doctors in the late summer of this year by Peckforton Pharmaceuticals. Stress is increasingly recognised as a significant cause of IBS. 100% of GPs and 90% of patients considered stress brought on attacks of IBS and made the condition much worse. GPs tended to emphasise the importance of stress and the brain gut axis when asked about the cause of IBS. But IBS also adds to the stress in a persons life, significantly undermining social activities and quality of life. When asked to describe their symptoms, patients with IBS used emotional adjectives like embarrassing, uncertain, painful, frustrating, anxious, stressful and uncomfortable and complained that of how difficult it was to lead a normal social life. Its a vicious cycle. As detailed in our self management programme, IBS is not only the gut reaction to what happens, but it also adds to the stress and is experienced in emotional terms, much like anxiety or depression. Despite this, only 1% of those surveyed said that their IBS made them feel suicidal. Personal relationships were rated as by far and away the greatest stress with financial worries and unemployment were secondary stressors though these often coexist alongside and contribute to relationship stress. The credit crunch did not feature prominently. One reason for this might be that members of The Gut Trust tend to be older and more financially stable than patients with IBS seen by the GP. The average age of Trust members who responded to this survey was 60 and they had had their IBS for an average of 21 years. This emphasises that IBS that can tend to be a life-long illness. It may start in the late teens or twenties, but it can come and go in response to the trials and tribulations of life. It was thought that IBS tended to calm down as a person gets older, but that seems not to be the case, perhaps because life for the middle aged and elderly can often get more rather then less stressful nowadays. The message; IBS is often a life long condition, but it can be managed. Most Gut Trust members are women. 82% of women and only 19% men responded to the survey. Those still in employment (a third of the patients surveyed) tend to take an average of 7.5 days off sick because of their gut, though many said they would have taken more time off if circumstances had permitted. 96% of Gut Trust members consult their GP about their symptoms and 77% have been referred to a hospital specialist. Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, urgency, flatulence and tiredness are the commonest symptoms. Most are given dietary advice and prescribed medications, with a lower percentage taking OTC medication. About a quarter of GPs advise cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy, but very few patients follow this advice, perhaps because off the difficulty in getting appointments. Hardly any GPs in this survey recommend probiotics. Patients rated the all treatment options mildly or moderately effective, marginally higher for cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy and exercise advice. This would tend to support the more individual and holistic management, implicit by the Gut Trusts self management programme. IBS is an individual illness. One persons IBS, the range of symptoms, what brings them on, the impact on their lives is very different from anothers. IBS can only be understood by understanding the individual and management needs to be customised to the patients unique conditions and needs. Finally, it was disappointing but hardly surprising to learn that rebranding the IBS Network as The Gut Trust did not increase its exposure. Only 4% of GPs questioned knew of The Gut Trust, though 10 times as many had heard of The IBS Network. But the reputation of The Gut Trust is growing, the range of services we offer has been improved, new members are joining every day and patients appreciate the services The Gut Trust offers. They help you realise you are not alone. If there was a cure for flatulence, Id be grateful. Wouldnt we all! Well do our best!