MILWAUKEE, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer and his wife, Camille, launched today a public education initiative to raise awareness about a common, but often unrecognized, medical condition that many people are reluctant to discuss. The condition is called irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, and it affects as many as one in five American adults. "You don't hear much about IBS because some of the symptoms involved relate to subjects traditionally considered taboo by the public and the press," said Kelsey Grammer. "However, it's important that we help people get over their embarrassment. We need to be able to talk openly about any medical condition that causes so many people to suffer in silence." IBS is a medical disorder that is estimated to affect as many as 20 percent of all adults in the U.S. with women sufferers outnumbering male sufferers by an estimated three to one. IBS is one of the top ten most frequently diagnosed conditions among U.S. physicians and is more common than asthma or diabetes. The disorder is characterized by multiple symptoms that include chronic, recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort, and irregular bowel function such as diarrhea, constipation, or sometimes both. The Grammers are working with the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) to raise awareness and educate the public about this prevalent condition and its effects on those who suffer from it. IFFGD is a nonprofit research organization whose mission is to inform and support people affected by functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as IBS. Camille Grammer was diagnosed three and a half years ago with IBS, though she believes she has been suffering from the condition throughout her life. Prior to her diagnosis, she endured many years of specialist and emergency room visits that provided little insight into what was causing her to double over in pain. Kelsey, concerned about his wife's health, and others suffering from IBS, is joining Camille to raise awareness about this chronic, often debilitating condition. "As long as I can remember, I've always had stomach and bowel problems and have never really known what to do about it. I have been amazed to learn how so many women have been suffering in the same way. I hope that my efforts to speak openly about my condition will encourage others to do the same and get the help that they need," said Camille. "IBS impacts my life in so many ways," Camille explained. "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. Traveling is difficult. And, IBS often makes even a simple evening out with my husband, to enjoy a concert or movie, seem impossible." "Through this initiative, we hope to inspire a national dialogue about IBS that will ultimately make it easier for people to discuss their symptoms with their doctor, family and friends," said Nancy J. Norton, President and Founder of IFFGD. The Grammers' initiative includes television and radio public service announcements (PSAs), sponsored by IFFGD, and education through the media. The efforts aim to encourage the millions of Americans who are suffering from IBS -- mostly women -- to recognize symptoms and seek medical attention. "Camille and I are very lucky to have each other, but it pains me to witness her suffering day in and day out," Kelsey said. "One of the reasons we want to talk about IBS is to encourage those people who suffer in silence to get more information, talk to their doctor and look into new ways to manage their IBS symptoms."
SOURCE International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders