10 of the Most Annoying  Misconceptions About IBS “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”  Albert Einstein IBS Shop Everything you need  to tackle IBS in one place Home
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Only ten?


Possibly the hardest list we have ever compiled.  Getting down to only ten when the list could have included the top one hundred misconceptions took time.  We apologize if in editing our list we cut out some of your own bug bears, however we had to cut the list off somewhere.


Ten Most Annoying IBS Misconceptions


  1. It’s in your head.  Let’s get this straight once and for all.  It is not, this is such a lazy and tired misconception that it is fair to say anyone who still believes this is simply demonstrating their own ignorance.
  2. It’s a minor complaint. IBS won’t kill you, that is clear.  However, it can utterly dominate your life and the fact that so many digestive problems are all lumped under the one heading means that sufferers who have very severe symptoms rarely receive the time, sympathy or care they deserve.
  3. It’s all the same.  Returning to the above theme, it is horrendously frustrating that people believe IBS is one condition with identical symptoms.  If you were to survey random people how many would think that IBS is just wind and bloating?
  4. It’s easy to fix.  We frequently come across bright and breezy responses on how easy it is to fix IBS. Most long term sufferers try EVERYTHING.  This does not stop many people from telling you, with absolute confidence that to fix IBS you need to……….  (Fill in the blanks)  IBS can be a result of anything from stress, to a serious digestive complication. However points 2 and 3 give far too many people the confidence to air an opinion.
  5. You don’t try hard.  Again, following on from the last point, you will often meet those who think your IBS is simply a result of your lifestyle choices.  Most sufferers look after themselves with great diet and exercise, yet others will still judge and assume that IBS is a result of poor personal care.
  6. You should get over it.  With the general lack of awareness that hangs around IBS, comes the idea that you can literally choose to get over it.  
  7. It’s not physical condition.  Similar to our earlier point about IBS being in the mind, however in this instance we are referring to the idea many hold that IBS is something of a ‘made up’ condition.  Stress and anxiety play huge roles in IBS, that much is true, however it is often chicken and egg.  If you digestion plays up due to a physical condition, you may then become anxious, and so on.  The key point is that for most sufferers IBS is very much a physical affliction.
  8. IBS does not hurt.  A point we frequently make, and will make here again is this:  Take a look at the fuss a non IBS sufferer makes about a digestive complaint, a stomach ache for example.  Many look as though the world will end.  Many IBS sufferers endure stomach pain, cramps and chronic bloating on a daily basis, however most of us don’t complain as you learn to cope with it, it does not mean it does not happen.
  9. I’ve had it, therefore I understand your symptoms.  Often the worst misconceptions come from fellow sufferers.  You may hope and expect fellow sufferers to understand your plight, and to be fair many are really wonderful and extremely helpful as they acknowledge this.  Sadly, there are some who think that they had IBS, therefore they are IBS experts for all (it appears to be those who develop IBS for a short period). First rule of IBS - we are not all the same, IBS symptoms vary wildly, as does the impact it may have upon your life.  There are some general rules and things that work for many, however you can never assume that you know what someone else is going through.
  10. IBS is easy to live with.  It’s not.  Again this equates to the idea that IBS is a form of mild stomach upset, if this were the case it would be a fair assumption.  It is very much at odds with the reality of IBS particularly for long term and severe sufferers will be aware of the deep and nasty damage IBS can reek upon your life, no matter what you do to help yourself.   


The majority of IBS sufferers we encounter are wonderful bright and positive people. From our list of gripes you may assume that the many sufferers are dour and depressed.  The truth for many is that we stay bright and positive on the outside to get through despite the fact our IBS plagues us. We are not looking to complain or even sympathy, we simply strive for just a touch of empathy and understanding.  


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Please note:  All blogs and IBS Health articles have been written by IBS sufferers for fellow IBS sufferers.

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