Kelsey and Camille Grammer Speak Out on Major Women's Health Issue

- Couple Encourages Millions of IBS Sufferers to End Silence, Seek Help -

Jan 27, 2000, 00:00 ET from International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

    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
     "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