A leading group of US medical doctors wants Americans to get used to talking about bowel symptoms, at least with their doctors.

According to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), people are hesitant to discuss digestive problems with a health care provider, with one in three saying they would only bring it up if their doctor brought it up first.

That’s even with data showing that 40% of Americans stopped doing certain routine activities in the past year because of inconvenience bowel symptoms.

This includes 19% who said their symptoms interfered with their exercise, 17% who said their symptoms prevented them from running errands, and 16% who said their symptoms interfered with spending time with family and friends.

“We need to normalize the conversation around uncomfortable GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms in our patients,” said Dr. Rajiv Jain, a gastroenterologist in Dallas and AGA Patient Education Advisor.

“This means patients can know they are normal, know what questions to ask and reduce the time from onset of symptoms to the patient-provider conversation,” Jain added in the association’s press release.

AGA’s new Trust Your Feelings campaign aims to start those discussions.

About 60 to 70 million Americans diseases of the gastrointestinal tract which can cause them to malfunction severely everyday life, the association reports. Many of them can only be diagnosed by a medical specialist.

Patients often wait until symptoms worsen or become severe before seeking help. This may be in part because talking about bowel symptoms makes people uncomfortable, the AGA noted.

About 15% out of about 1,000 survey respondents said they’d rather discuss politics with a relative, and about 22% said they’d rather reveal their weight than talk about it intestines symptoms, even with their doctor. One quarter said they would try over-the-counter solutions before meeting with a health care provider about symptoms, and 22% said they would do research online.

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Additional information:
AGA has more Trust your intuition.

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Citation: Gastro docs say ‘trust your gut’, seek help for digestive issues (2022, October 5) retrieved October 5, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-gastro-docs- gut-digestive-issues. html

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