2017-04-13 17:09:32 UTC

New Campaign — Toilet Talk — Works to Destigmatize Bowel Health

April 13, 2017

AGA partners on campaign to empower patients in recognition of IBS Awareness Month.

AGA has partnered with Allergan to announce the launch of Toilet TalkSM to drive awareness of IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D). The campaign is intended to reduce the stigma associated with talking about bowel health, and ultimately to empower patients to proactively discuss their bowel function with their health-care professional.

As many as 16 million Americans are affected by IBS-D, and, according to the AGA IBS in America survey, a web-based survey of IBS-C and IBS-D sufferers, nearly four in 10 patients waited three or more years before seeing a health-care professional about their symptoms. Patients would rather discuss STDs or impotence than bowel health with their health-care professionals. AGA is working with Allergan to change this pattern of behavior.

"Many IBS sufferers dismiss their symptoms until diarrhea impacts their daily lives, causing them to miss work or social events. It's unfortunate that instead of communicating these issues with their health-care professional, they resort to an ongoing cycle of lifestyle modification and over-the-counter treatments," said J. Sumner Bell, MD, AGAF, AGA patient engagement advisor. "It's our goal that by raising awareness of the importance of bowel health, Toilet Talk will empower sufferers to seek medical treatment earlier than ever before, and speak frankly with their health-care professional so that they can control their symptoms and regain confidence in their daily lives."

Talking about bowel health may be awkward and uncomfortable, and Toilet Talk perfectly captures both the taboo and authentic nature of the topic, while underscoring that bowel health, among other factors, can be an important component in overall well-being.  

The campaign further encourages patients to understand more about their own bowel movements by answering five simple questions that will help them start the discussion with their health-care provider at www.thetoilettalk.com. For every completed questionnaire, Allergan will donate $1 to the AGA Research Foundation to support digestive disease research, up to $50,000. In addition, Toilet Talk will reach health-care practitioners and consumers via in-office patient education materials.