Beyond the Bathroom: The Impact of IBS on Quality of Life

Beyond the Bathroom: The Impact of IBS on Quality of Life

We conducted a large survey of people who have IBS, and asked many questions about what it’s like living with an illness that is difficult to diagnose, extremely complicated to manage and has a negative impact on quality of life.


IBS isn’t the only condition to manage

As if IBS wasn’t difficult enough to manage and live with, most people also have to cope with many other health conditions and complications.



The effects of IBS on other aspects of life

Most people perceive their IBS to be moderate (53%) or severe (43%), and majority of people (79%) experience a whole host of IBS symptoms at least once a week. As a result, IBS is not a condition that’s just restricted to the bathroom and some stomach cramps. Its negative impact spans far and wide and has a profound effect on people’s quality of life.



The IBS In America 2018 online survey gathered insights from 1,584 individuals currently suffering from IBS to better understand their symptoms and management of this condition, as well as the impact on their lives.


View Comments (4)
  • mphollins
    9 months ago

    The dread any party invitation. Last Sunday I had a very antipated wedding. I was okay until I placed the keys in the car ingitiion and those cramp spasms started. I had to return to the house and the toilet. I made the wedding 15 minutes late. Unless you have this disease it is impossible to understand the level of pain sufferers experience. For me the pain will go on for hours even after taking medication. All I can do is scream until the pain calms down.

  • Holly5757
    10 months ago

    When I am in a flare up my whole life suffers. All I want to do is go to bed but generally the flares happen during the work week. I hate calling in sick (I have had to do it several times) because it makes me look like a slacker employee. Most people just think IBS is just a little belly ache or just have to poop. If only that were true! I suffer from IBS, anxiety/depression, hemorrhoids, fissures…I am not sure which came first, the IBS causing the other symptoms or the other symptoms lead to IBS. Vicious cycle.
    Sometimes my flares can last up to a week. When that happens I make for a horrible mom, wife, employee, friend…I am rendered useless.

  • Becky Oleson moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi Holly5757,
    Oh, can I relate to these words. IBS is all-encompassing during flare-ups, and it can feel like it lasts forever. Is your family supportive of your condition? Do they understand, or at least try to? We tend to be our own worst critics, especially when we’re in pain and struggling. I’m guessing your family members, friends, and fellow employees wouldn’t describe you as “horrible” or “useless,” despite what you might be telling yourself.

    The vicious cycle you refer to is absolutely true…at least it has been for me, having suffered with this condition for more than 25 years. I’ve found that the harder I am on myself, the worse my symptoms tend to be. When I’m in the middle of a flare-up, I try to tell myself “this is temporary,” and I take it as a sign that a little self-care is in order. I know it seems like the last thing in the world you want to do, especially when you’re beating yourself up, but trust me…being gentle on yourself will have a positive effect on your IBS.

    I encourage you to come up with your own encouraging mantra or practice. Something that makes sense for you and reminds you that you’re only human, that having IBS isn’t your fault, and that you’re not alone. Please let us know if you decide to give it a try! Sending you so much encouragement…you deserve it.

    -Becky, Team Member

  • mphollins
    9 months ago

    I thought that if I did not place any food on my stomach, then I would be pain free. Wrong is pain comes with or without food. I am drinking protein drinks now, crossing my fingers that the lack of solid food will reduce the flare ups.

  • Poll