The True Impact of Bowel Urgency
Bowel Urgency Is an Important and Distinct Symptom of Ulcerative Colitis (UC) That May Exist Even When Other Symptoms Are Controlled1,2*
Many people with UC suffer from bowel urgency.3†
- In a study, 50% of the patients with UC reported experiencing urgency at least once a day
- 84% reported experiencing urgency within the past 6 months
In a study of patients with UC, urgency was still experienced in1‡:
- 39% of patients who had normal stool frequency
- 35% of patients who had no rectal bleeding
Urgency and the Stress and Panic It May Cause Can Have a Significant Impact on Quality of Life for Your Patients With UC4,5§
In a study of patients with UC, urgency is one of their most disruptive symptoms. In fact, roughly 90% of patients with UC reported urgency as a symptom that disrupts their everyday life.5|| In one survey, patients with UC chose urgency as their most important symptom and ranked it higher than abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and stool frequency.6¶
More than 70% of patients rated urgency as having a high impact on their quality of life.7#
Bowel Urgency May Keep Patients With UC From Fully Engaging in Life7,8**
Urgency may limit patients with UC in many ways:
Academically and professionally
- Urgency may limit the ability to attend work and/or school1,9††
- In a study, roughly 1 in 4 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) withdrew from work and/or school1,9††
- Urgency—and the fear of an accident—can trap IBD patients in a stressful pattern of panic, planning, and avoidance4,8‡‡
- Urgency might limit participation in physical activity and exercise10§§
- The fear of having a bowel urgency accident during intercourse may cause patients with UC to refrain from sexual activity4||||
In a study, 72% of patients with UC said urgency had the greatest impact on quality of life.7¶¶
Jon’s Story: How Bowel Urgency Impacted His Social Life
Jon is a 26-year-old who just moved to a new town. He is confident in himself for the most part but worries that his UC symptoms, like urgency, will act up and disrupt his life. While on a first date, his fears were realized: They had just ordered dinner when Jon felt a sudden and uncontrollable urge to defecate. With no time to explain, he had to abruptly abandon his date and run to the bathroom. He barely made it in time, and the date ended shortly after.
Jon was too embarrassed to tell anyone about the incident, including his gastroenterologist. Since his urgency emergency, Jon has not even considered dating again and is reluctant to meet new people.
Urgency and Urgency Accidents Can Lead to Patients Feeling Trapped and Not in Control4,11##
The unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of bowel urgency can create intense focus on bowel needs for patients with UC.11 Urgency and urgency accidents may cause patients to leave social situations so that they don't attract unwanted attention and risk exposure.4##
Bowel urgency and bowel urgency accidents may limit patients with UC from reaching their full potential—academically, professionally, socially, and personally.4,8,12
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“It’s too humiliating to explain . . . even to my doctor. So, when he didn’t ask, I didn’t tell my story.”
– Bruna, Urgency Anonymous™
Watch colleagues and leading experts in UC discuss stories based on patient experiences about the true impact of bowel urgency.