For those who have had the condition for many years the problems can fester and grow. If you loose control of a bodily function is is highly embarrassing and as we know people can be very cruel with such issues. Again to the outside observer this may seem a trivial issue, sufferers will know that it is not. Long term or severe sufferers will often make huge sacrifices to their lifestyle to placate the condition.
It can have effects on every tract of your life, most decisions will be made on the basis of the the condition. To try to put it in perspective, a professional footballer who plays for Manchester United has already lost three years of his sporting life to IBS/IBD. Even with all his money and all his desire to play the sport he loves, he has been forced to quit by his symptoms. Nobody would lose so much for anything that was merely a discomfort.
A recent joke on a TV show made me think about the view many people take on IBS. The joke require excessive contextualisation, so I will not repeat it, however suffice to say it very much trivialised the condition.
I do not expect IBS to be spoken of in the same vein as a very serious or terminal condition, but there is so much misunderstanding around IBS that it started me thinking about the misconceptions others have about the condition.
The seemingly harmless nature of the symptoms, are largely what generates the perspective held by most about the condition. The pain and suffering seem limited compared to many other conditions, thus the sympathy is reduced. What is largely ignored is the psychological damage of the condition.
Part of the problem also lies with the fact that IBS is often used as a medical get out clause for people suffering with digestive disorders. It would appear that far too many digestive disorders are lumped together as IBS. There also seems to be far too few medical specialists in this field given the growing acceptance that diet and digestive well being are vital for health. If you diagnose mild cramping and trapped wind with the same condition that can include frequent violent bouts of diarrhea and chronic abdominal pain it is no surprise that the public at large trivialise the condition.
So what do you think ? Outside of fellow sufferers does the public at large truly understand the condition and more importantly do you feel that others can empathise with the condition ?