Recognise it's not 'just' Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Recognise it's not 'just' Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

14 April 2015
Petition to
All political parties and the National Medical Director
Petition Closed
This petition had 2,575 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by IBS Network

Have you ever been told by your doctor, ‘don’t worry, it’s just IBS!’  How did that make you feel?  Have you ever said it to somebody else?

Matthew, aged 29, has lived with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for almost twenty years. After a long journey through the healthcare system and a plethora of negative tests, he was told: “Don’t concern yourself, it’s just IBS. Play around with your diet a bit, cut out what upsets you and you'll be fine.” Such is the attitude among clinicians, within medical textbooks and even in the family and wider society.  

‘Just IBS’ suggests insignificance; in stark contrast with the experience of many who struggle day in and day out to live with such an embarrassing and debilitating condition. Have you ever been tortured by abdominal pain every day of your life?    Have you not been able to find a loo in time?  Do you have to wear pads or take spare underwear and wipes whenever you go out?  Is the bloating so bad you look and feel seven months pregnant?  Are you so stuffed up with constipation you can’t even think?  No, this is not just IBS!       

So many people with IBS isolate themselves because of the hell of living with their condition and the stigma that is attached to it. It’s not just IBS!   

It is estimated that The NHS spends up to £200 million per annum on IBS, yet diagnostic tests are usually negative and treatment often ineffective. This money could be used more effectively. 

Matthew was not fine. He continued to search in vain for a solution. Then, approaching what seemed to be a dead end, he found The IBS Network. 

The IBS Network is the UK’s national charity for IBS. Its mission is to inform, advise and support people with IBS and to work alongside health care professionals to facilitate self-management. Its on-line IBS Self Care Plan offers a comprehensive overview of IBS and its various aspects of management; diet, medications, stress reduction and therapies. Its telephone helpline and email response services offer one to one professional support. Its growing network of self help groups is supported by a quarterly magazine, monthly newsletter and factsheets of many IBS topics.      

The IBS Network strongly believes there is nothing ‘just’ about IBS!  It is for that reason that we are campaigning for more awareness and improved services for this debilitating and all too often disregarded illness. 

In particular we are demanding:

NHS recognised quality standards of care for IBS.
Better education on IBS for all health care professionals.
Greater awareness of the devastating effect IBS can have on a person’s life.
Dissemination of The IBS Self Care Plan (
An infrastructure of trained health care professionals to support IBS self care. 

Together we can call on all major political parties to commit to improving the life of the million plus people with irritable bowel syndrome. Show your support by signing the change petition now.


Canavan, C., West, J., & Card, T. (2014). Review article: The economic impact of the irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 40(9), 1023-34.

 Mönnikes, H. (2011). Quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 45(2), S98-S101.

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This petition had 2,575 supporters

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  • All political parties and the National Medical Director