Gut Gender Gap: how IBS affects women differently


Team Zemedy

March 8, 2021

In the UK, 15% of the population suffer from IBS. With a disproportionate impact across genders, the condition is twice as prevalent in women as it is in men, and up to 25% of women will experience IBS at some point in their lives. But it’s not just about prevalence.

As men and women go through completely different physiological transitions, it’s only natural that the severity, let alone the variety of symptoms will differ, too. Taking a life course approach to women’s health, with this survey we acknowledge the particular vulnerabilities at different life stages and the health improvement opportunities the insights from this study have presented.

As such, the data analysed in the survey is incremental in developing a comprehensive IBS solution that can suit the needs of our community and enable the patient choice to customise the solution to individual requirements.

In partnership with The IBS Network and IFFGD, Bold Health has conducted this study to learn more about IBS from the population directly. Bold Health has received 660 responses to the survey, with participants coming from The IBS Network, Zemedy and IFFGD communities.

Gut Gender Gap: how IBS affects women differently

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The effect of IBS on mental health

Previous studies on the experience of IBS state that uncertainty, unpredictability, loss of freedom, spontaneity, and social contacts, along with feelings of fearfulness, shame, and embarrassment are some of the struggles that come with IBS. We observed all these to be true in the participants of this study.

It now totally rules and dominates my life and I am very nearly housebound

We believe that these results validate the need for a more personalised approach in IBS management for each individual. Bringing awareness to the struggles of IBS, this paper aims to attract more efforts to support individuals suffering from it. At the very least, we hope that this paper validates IBS patients' experiences, for the struggle is real. It is not “in your head” and you are not alone in this.

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