1. Raise Your Own Awareness Level
Find out as much as you can about this disorder that has taken over many lives. The isolating nature of digestive symptoms often leaves patients in the dark regarding the illness. Misinformation and misconceptions abound, often leading to an unnecessary increase in anxiety. Do yourself a favor and become an educated patient and an active participant in your own recovery.
2. Make the People in Your Life Aware
Efforts to hide your IBS difficulties often serve to increase your stress level and exacerbate your symptoms. Each month, make it a point to tell another person in your life about your struggles, whether that be a friend, family member or co-worker. Due to the high incidence of IBS in the general population, you might be surprised to find out who else is a fellow sufferer! If the people in your life are not able to offer the support you need, talk to people who know what it is like to walk in your shoes:
3. Make the World Aware
In order to find a cure (or even better treatments) for IBS, money is needed for research and development. Government agencies and medical and pharmaceutical companies are the directing forces behind the decision as to where research and product development money should go. Your voice can make a difference! For more information on how to advocate for the IBS cause, see the following:
- Best IBS Resources
- IBS Impact Patient Advocacy Group
- Donating Opportunities for IBS
- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)
- The Gut Trust
- An Overview of Patient Advocacy
For "Reader Tested" advocacy ideas, see the IBS Advocacy and Awareness thread on the IBS discussion forum.