Ex-Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon speaks on her 13-year fight with IBS

If you are suffering from the pain and discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are not alone. All across the the UK, there are 12 million more people who are being caused misery by the inconvenient and sometimes distressing stomach condition. The most commonly experienced symptoms for sufferers include stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea or constipation, or sometimes even alternating bouts of both to varying severity. Every case of IBS can be different, but all cases are certainly bothersome for the person who has it and Medical Specialists Pharmacy is doing everything possible to help the millions who are suffering.

This is why we recently introduced the revolutionary non-dairy, gluten-free probiotic ‘Symprove’; a scientific revelation of a drink that contains billions of live bacteria than get to work immediately upon entering the body and are not destroyed during the digestion process like other probiotics.

Perhaps somebody could come forth and recommend Symprove to the former Blue Peter presenter and Dancing on Ice contestant Zoe Salmon. The 32-year old TV star has this week spoke of her agonising 13-year battle against IBS, documenting her struggles over the years and what foods she now has to avoid in order to prevent a possible outbreak of symptoms.

She says: “I was 19 and working as a shop assistant when I had my first attack and started to feel really unwell. My vision started to go blurry and I felt as if I was going to faint. My heart started to beat quickly and my whole body began to shake. Then I broke out in a sweat and I was hit by this awful wave of nausea. The pain was so severe it literally took my breath away. Since then I’ve had increasingly severe symptoms, including stomach cramps, headaches, nausea and sickness every six months or so. One area that is always uncomfortable is my stomach, which feels bloated nearly every day. I actually look pregnant because my belly hangs over my jeans. It made me feel self-conscious in front of boyfriends. I went to see my GP and was told it sounded like I could be allergic to monosodium glutamate. I was referred to a consultant gastroenterologist and they said it sounded like I had a wheat and sugar intolerance. To hear that was terrible because I have such a sweet tooth. But it made sense as my first attack at work had come after I’d had a sugary drink and chocolate. So the consultant told me to cut sugar out of my diet and to stop eating wheat. Now that I’ve cut them out, I feel better. I avoid the culprit foods, such as bread, pasta, white rice, crackers, biscuits and alcohol, so eat lots of fish, chicken and vegetables. I am not saying I am the healthiest person. I still like my takeaways, and my sweet tooth will never really go.”

Dr Ray Shidrawi, a gastroenterologist at The Wellington Hospital in North London, heard about Zoe’s comments and gave his thoughts on her struggles. He says over a fifth of us have experienced IBS at one time or another. He commented: “Zoe is not alone in suffering from IBS. In fact it is a very common condition. Classic symptoms include bloating, ­constipation or diarrhoea or alternating instances of both. Invariably, we find IBS is stress-related and stress therapy is an important part of the treatment. But first we need to exclude other conditions including infections, so we often ask for a blood test and a sigmoidoscopy, which is a minimally invasive examination using a thin tube attached to a small camera and light that is ­inserted into the rectum to examine the bowel. Essentially, a person with IBS has a bowel but it is more sensitive than usual. The priority is to regulate the bowel and not get bunged up. So initially that means a balance of dietary changes to introduce more fibre and it will often mean using laxatives, too. We often find that IBS sufferers have an ­undertone of depression, so often a psychologist can help a patient enormously. We can also use some drugs to help modulate the gut but this is a last resort.”

Zoe Salmon is not the only celebrity though who is suffering from IBS, or has suffered with it at some point. There are many other people in the spotlight who have also had the common symptoms of IBS, and shows celebrities are just like the rest of us and not ‘superhuman’. They include:

. Tyra Banks (U.S. model and talk show host)

Tyra Banks surprised her audience back in 2006 when she revealed to her guest Janet Jackson that she has IBS, admitting she is ‘very gassy’.

. Jenny McCarthy (U.S. model and actress)

Jim Carrey’s former girlfriend Jenny McCarthy brazenly admitted to suffering with ‘chronic diarrhoea’ and various other IBS symptoms within her autobiography Jen-X: Jenny McCarthy’s Open Book.

. John F. Kennedy (Former U.S. president)

A 2002 review of the former President’s medical records, found an interesting revelation; it appeared he had suffered with bowel complaints and suspected IBS. Kennedy was prescribed antidiarrheal drugs to provide relief, as well as being administered testosterone to help his weight and strength.

. Camille Grammer (Former wife of actor Kelsey Grammer)

The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills star is often vocal about her battle with IBS, first developing the stomach condition in 1997. Whilst still married to Kelsey, she explained about her problems, saying: “I am always fearful that my IBS symptoms will return at any moment, so I always have to know where the nearest restroom is. I’m afraid that eating will result in stomach pain. Travelling is difficult. And IBS often makes even a simple evening out with my husband, to enjoy a concert or movie, seem impossible.”

The fact there are famous faces who have spoken out on their gut problems shows that these kinds of issues are indeed very common and certainly nothing to be ashamed about. If you are experiencing any kind of stomach complaint, it is vital you consult your GP immediately, who will then ask you detailed questions and refer you for further scans if necessary.

If it is IBS you have, then this can be treated with a wide range of effective medications such as Mebeverine and Buscopan IBS relief. In addition, the medication Lansoprazole can help with acid reflux problems that cause heartburn and complications with swallowing. All of these medicines are available at low prices from the ‘Stomach and Bowel’ section of the Medical Specialists Pharmacy website in addition to the new wonder treatment for IBS – Symprove. The 500ml mango and passion fruit flavour of Symprove can be purchased today without a prescription from Medical Specialists, priced just £19.93.

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