Workplace worries about gut health after lockdown

With around 10-20% of the UK population living with IBS, it’s long been a condition which has affected people at work. In fact, the IBS Network estimates that Britain’s businesses lose almost £3 billion every year through sick days related to gut health[1] and up to three quarters of sufferers have reported taking up to 5 days off work each year.[2]

Symptoms of IBS can be chronic and even debilitating, so access to quality information and personalised care can be a life-line to people who had struggled to find reliable dietary information and treatment.

Worryingly, a new survey[2] of over 1,000 people has revealed new concerns about life after lockdown to the stress and shame associated with their condition, dealing with bloating, cramps, excess gas and digestive disorders is no easy feat. Whilst most of the country is looking forward to lockdown restrictions easing, 48% of those with poor gut health are anxious about coming out of lockdown.

Over the past year, survey respondents reported feeling more able to manage their symptoms via strategies including holistic approaches, supplements and prescription drugs.  A quarter of them were able to improve their diet with healthier food choices, but it’s clear that the prospect of post lockdown living is causing real anxiety amongst those with poor gut health, particularly in the under 55 age bracket.

In the survey, food and diet changes were ranked first in a list of effective remedies to support symptoms of IBS, with people turning to a dietitian second only to a GP as providing expertise to help. At the BDA, we know that diet is a key treatment strategy for many individuals with IBS and nine out of 10 individuals in a recent review reported that food generates symptoms and two-thirds of IBS sufferers initiate dietary restrictions to improve their symptoms.[3]

Unfortunately, many never get the support of a dietitian, but there are various evidence based strategies which NHS, private and our workplace specialist dietitians can use to support people to reduce symptoms and feel better.

How Work Ready Can Help

One of our most popular Work Ready workshops and webinars offers food based tips for happy, healthy digestion. Work Ready dietitians report how valued people feel after the tips from our specialist workplace interventions.

After a webinar held this week for workers at University College London, 96% of attendees said they now knew what food and drink to choose to benefit their gut health. 

BDA Work Ready gut health workshops can be delivered as group webinars or used as a basis for one to one coaching. After the sessions, all attendees agree they are motivated to further explore nutrition and gut health – which is a bonus for their own wellbeing as well as company productivity.

Contact us via the form below to book your session or to find out about our other gut health resources such as Bowel Cancer Awareness factsheets and Poo Charts for your toilet stalls.

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    [1] The IBS Network Total sample size was 2,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken July 2016.

    [2]  Survey with PrecisionBiotics and IBS Network. Total sample size 1,000 adults. Fieldwork March 2021

    [3] McKenzie, Y. A., Bowyer, R. K., Leach, H., Gulia, P., Horobin, J., O’Sullivan, N. A., … & Thompson, J. (2016). British Dietetic Association systematic review and evidence-based practice guidelines for the dietary management of irritable bowel syndrome in adults (2016 update). Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 29(5), 549-575.

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