A million Dutch people suffer from digestive disease stigmas

People who suffer from a digestive disease say they experience feelings of fear, isolation and shame every day. About two million Dutch people have such a digestive disease. Almost half suffer from taboos associated with their disease.

According to research by the Maag Lever Bowel Foundation among more than 3600 patients, in collaboration with six patient associations. A third of the respondents also indicate that relationships are difficult because communication with the partner about the disease is difficult.

These are people who suffer from Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome or, for example, celiac disease, cancer or liver disease. As a result, more than 40 percent in the study say they suffer from emotional problems every day.

Not taken seriously

According to many of the respondents, talking about the consequences of the disease – for example about bowel problems – is not accepted or found dirty. As a result, the subject is also avoided by patients. Of the people who did go to the doctor with complaints, a quarter said they did not feel that they were taken seriously.

The Maag Lever Bowel Foundation hopes that the results of the research will break taboos on digestive diseases and that patients will dare to talk about it. For example, almost two thirds of people with irritable bowel syndrome indicate that the outside world underestimates its consequences. A special diet due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is often dismissed as an instigation.

Patients with liver diseases or pancreas disorders are often told that their condition is the result of alcohol abuse. People with a stoma sometimes say they are refused in the swimming pool, because ” that’s dirty ”.

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