Survey results for

March/May: Bowel and Digestive Health Survey

Bowel and digestive health concerns are very common and can have a severe effect on every day activities in some cases. Over the years, talkhealth has developed an extensive support network within the community and often seeks feedback from these members.

In March 2019, talkhealth ran a survey about bowel and digestive health to discover how bowel discomfort, such as IBS and constipation, diarrhoea and digestive issues like heartburn and reflux affects our members and what additional support they would find helpful.

The survey ran between 6 March – 1 May 2019 and c600 of our members responded.

Your experience & symptoms

The ages of 35-54 was the most common age that participants experienced bowel and digestive health issues (46%) and 89% of participants were female.

The top three conditions participants were living with are as follows:
1. 60% - IBS
2. 42% - Reflux/Indigestion
3. 19% - Haemorrhoids (piles)

Participants experienced a range of symptoms as a result of these conditions, with bloating being the most common (70%) followed by general abdominal discomfort (64%) and wind (64%) which were also reported as regular symptoms associated with IBS, reflux/indigestion or haemorrhoids.

When asked about what impact bowel and digestive health conditions had on their life, 43% stated that what they eat has a great effect on their day to day life, with 35% stating their condition greatly affects their confidence. Many stated that symptoms such as bloating and wind made work and social situations uncomfortable.

Medication & additional support

While exploring the topic of medication further, 49% of participants stated they take regular medication to help with their symptoms and 63% are prescribed medication from their GP.

Support wise, 64% of participants revealed they visited GP or other health care professionals to help manage their health, 30% utilised community websites and 25% went to pharmacists.

An overwhelming 72% thought it would help if GPs offered a support programme written specifically to help manage their bowel and/or digestive health condition. 59% also stated that they would like more information to help them better manage their condition, and 50% wanted more practical information about their condition e.g. hints and tips and easy to understand guidance that they can put into practice in their every day life.

52% of participants also said they would like to try samples of different products relating to their condition.

If you would like extra advice, our talkIBS and talkbowel hubs are regularly updated with the latest news and if you or someone you know has IBS, join our free IBS Support Programme and get dedicated support sent to you by email in bite-size chunks.

If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the results for these surveys please contact us.