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The final part of the survey implemented a tool called the Standard Gamble, which asks patients to choose between different percentages of risk of death and chances for a cure from their disease or ailment. In this study, the researchers asked participants about a hypothetical medication that would cure all of their IBS symptoms without the need for further IBS medications. The participants claimed that they would accept a median 1% risk of immediate death for a 99% chance of a total cure. The median level of risk patients were willing to take was the same for all subtypes, such as IBS-Constipation and IBS-Diarrhea.
Factors such as age, gender, general risk-taking behaviour, duration of IBS symptoms, current medication use, and prior sideeffects from medications did not appear to affect the participants’ willingness to risk all for a possible cure from their IBS symptoms. As the study authors explain, “This remarkable willingness to risk sudden death illustrates how significantly the burden of IBS symptoms compromises the quality of patients’ lives.”
In reality, of course, there is no perfect cure, and no magic answer to chronic disease. If you or someone you care about is affected by IBS, do not lose hope and do not give up on finding effective treatment. A vast amount of research is still dedicated to this area and practitioners introduce new or improved treatments for the symptoms of IBS regularly.
About 40% of individuals with IBS never seek treatment, which means they are living with ongoing disruptive, possibly painful, symptoms without the benefit of available treatments. If you think you may have IBS, or if you received a diagnosis years ago but gave up on treatments, talk to your health care provider. There are several and varied therapies that many individuals find helpful. These include over-thecounter and prescription medications, diet and lifestyle modifications, psychological counselling, and even physiotherapy treatments specifically aimed at helping individuals with IBS.
April is IBS Awareness Month!
*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.