Do you suffer with your bowels?

Do you suffer with your bowels?

Bowel problems are plaguing Brits, but they’re too embarrassed to talk to their GP about it.

According to a new survey by constipation treatment Dulcolax, a quarter of those polled have a health question they are too embarrassed to ask their GP. For almost one in 10 it’s their bowels that are taboo, second only to sex as the most embarrassing topic they’ll avoid.

A worrying number say they backed out of asking their GP a question about their bowels because they were too embarrassed.

That’s why experts from constipation brand Dulcolax and the charity Beating Bowel Cancer have teamed up to answer the nation’s embarrassing bowel questions; from ‘what is constipation?’ and ‘what if it hurts to go to the loo?’ to ‘I have piles, what should I do?’.

Following an online call for questions earlier this year, the experts, including a GP, a nutritionist and a nurse, have provided straight talking answers and advice about constipation and other bowel worries, which are available in two new films launched on this month.

GP and medical adviser Jess Kalsi, who appears in the film, says: “People really are embarrassed, but they shouldn’t be. We all go to the toilet and all have problems from time to time. Constipation and other bowel worries have a real impact on how people feel and their confidence, and affect all of us occasionally. It may well be nothing, but to be certain it’s not a sign of something serious, it’s worth checking it out. GPs and nurses aren’t shocked easily and are here to help.”

Nutritionist and bowel expert Kate Arnold says: “There seems to be a lot of confusion out there. People used to think that you needed a poo every day, but in fact anything between three times a day and three times a week is normal. Be aware of what is usual for you, and look out for changes. People are suffering in silence. We need to get over that British ‘stiff upper lip’. Speak to someone as soon as you have a concern.”

Previous research from Dulcolax also shows that even if women experience a worrying change in their poo, two thirds would not talk to their pharmacist or GP, despite over three quarters saying they have suffered from constipation.

Nurse Jenny Wills, who works on the Beating Bowel Cancer helpline, says: “We get over 3,000 calls to our helpline a year and one of the main things we’re asked is ‘what’s normal?’. What’s normal is different from person to person and it’s important to be aware of changes to your bowel habits. If you’ve been experiencing blood in your poo or changes in your bowel habits for three weeks or more, it’s really important that you contact your GP.”

Anyone who is worried or concerned about changes to their poo should talk to their pharmacist or GP.

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