Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be prescribed treatment that relieves the cause of pain instead of that which masks it, say experts at IBS Relief.
"It is likely that a significant number of people who suffer from abdominal pain associated with IBS do not know there are antispasmodic treatments available, which are specifically designed to relieve muscle cramps – rather than temporarily mask the pain like analgesics," says lead author Dr Angela Alexander.
Pain associated with IBS can far exceed that of period and back pain and headaches. Some 28% of people with IBS believe the pain and cramps they experience could be worse than childbirth.
However, only half of people with IBS use a pain relief that relaxes muscle in the bowel and prevents it from cramping.
Some 42% of individuals with IBS experience abdominal pain everyday, while 29% experience a pain attack two to three times a week.
Sally Binfield, an IBS pain relief product manager, said: "We conducted the 'highlighting the pain' research to help people understand that IBS is a real condition that requires specialist treatment."