Abstract

Stigma and irritable bowel syndrome: a taboo subject?

Hearn M1, Whorwell PJ1, Vasant DH2. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Jan 7. pii: S2468-1253(19)30348-6. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30348-6. [Epub ahead of print]

 
     

Author information

Manchester University Foundation Trust, Neurogastroenterology Unit, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK; Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Gastroenterology University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Manchester University Foundation Trust, Neurogastroenterology Unit, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK; Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Gastroenterology University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Electronic address: dipesh.vasant@mft.nhs.uk.

Abstract

This Review highlights the stigma associated with irritable bowel syndrome and its impact on patient care and clinical outcomes. Stigma around irritable bowel syndrome is prevalent among the general public, health-care professionals, and co-workers, and is often related to poor understanding of the condition. Furthermore, stigma is associated with unsatisfactory outcomes for people with irritable bowel syndrome, including increased health-care use, psychological distress, and impaired quality of life. Comparative studies suggest that stigma is much higher for irritable bowel syndrome than it is for inflammatory bowel disease, a so-called organic gastrointestinal disorder with overlapping symptomatology. In this Review, we discuss the lack of interest in irritable bowel syndrome among members of the general public and health-care professionals, and the need for it to be better understood. These problems should be addressed by appropriate educational strategies to raise awareness and by relevant interventions.

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