While the survey of both GPs and patients supported by Cheshire-based Peckforton Pharmaceuticals suggests no significant impact from the recession, it seems to indicate that many IBS victims suffer the condition for their entire lives.
While the average age range of IBS patients seen by the GPs is between 26-35 years, the average age of the patients surveyed, all of whom were members of The Gut Trust, the National Charity for IBS, was 60 years.
And of those patients who took part in the survey 35 per cent reported experiencing IBS symptoms/flare ups nearly every day while 21 per cent experience symptoms three to four times a week.
Dr Michael Taylor, national spokesman for the Family Doctor Association said: “The significant finding from this survey seems to be that symptoms just don’t go away. Most people who come to GPs presenting IBS symptoms tend to be younger than those patients polled in this survey.
“As people get older, they tend to cope, or so we thought. But the findings of this survey suggest they continue to have symptoms and flare ups into their later years. The cut off for new cases of IBS seems to be the age of 40. We see far fewer people presenting IBS symptoms after this age but older people continue to suffer.
“This survey poses the question, does IBS ever go away?” added Dr Taylor. “The members of the Gut Trust were much older than what had been considered the usual age range for IBS, but their contribution offered a valuable insight into how common IBS is in the middle aged and elderly'.
Michael Mahoney, one of Britain’s leading clinical hypnotherapists to specialise in the condition and author of the IBS Audio 100 self-help programme, said he hoped the findings of the survey would spur doctors and specialist therapists to look at new ways of alleviating the suffering currently being endured by older IBS patients.
“We have known, for some time now that there is no simple cure for IBS but this new information of the level of suffering among older patients is still shocking,” said Mr. Mahoney from his Warrington consulting rooms.
“We must continue to do what we can to help alleviate the often debilitating symptoms suffered by patients whether it be through medications, hypnotherapy or both. To simply recognise it, and do nothing is not acceptable.”
Jan Taylor, a spokesperson for Peckforton Pharmaceuticals and who was involved in commissioning the survey said: “We were in a fortunate position because of our relationship with Mike Mahoney, The Family Doctor Association and The Gut Trust, so it enabled us all to work together to examine the current picture of IBS amongst the sufferers and the Healthcare professionals who help them to manage their condition”.
“Much of the survey confirmed our suspicions, but I found it quite shocking to learn that the debilitating and painful symptoms of IBS, continues to blight people’s lives into their golden years, and healthcare professionals are still searching for solutions to manage a complex condition” said Jan speaking from her Crewe, Cheshire office.
“Most of the respondents did not feel that their current treatment was able to provide all the answers, and IBS was a condition that requires management and varied solutions from alternative therapy and professional intervention, to over the counter medication”
For further information contact Jan Taylor on 07786 855932