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More and more young women suffer from stomach aches

Robert Brummer in front of a TV-screen.

Valio’s report shows that almost half of young women in Sweden have had stomach problems in the last year and every fourth suffers weekly. The problems have increased in just a few years. The report was presented at a seminar and in the panel, Robert Brummer, Professor at Örebro University, was not surprised.

“Generally speaking, these results are consistent with my expectations. We know that stomach problems are on the rise. And the fact that women experience stomach problems to a greater extent than men is already well established, but the vast occurrence of stomach problems in younger women is alarming,” says Robert Brummer, who is Professor of gastroenterology and clinical nutrition at Örebro University.

The report shows that 48 per cent of women between 15 and 34 have had stomach problems in the past year. Stress is reported as the most common source of stomach problems, followed by poor eating habits, sorry and anxiety. Stress is often cited as related to various performance pressures at work and in everyday life.

“I am surprised that so many point out stress as the cause. We know that stress plays a major roll, but these high results can also be a sign that there is a lot of talk in the media about stress, where they use terms like chronic abdominal pain.”

Fewer seeking medical on the rise

The 2017 report also shows a 10 per cent increase of persons not seeking care today, compared to just five years ago. One reason may be that many do not believe there is any treatment available.

“This is partly a symptom of failed health care, but I also believe many – perhaps mainly women – place blame on themselves,” says Robert Brummer, and continues:

“Both IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders should be tackled holistically, that is, with a focus on the entire body and lifestyle. However, this is not something Swedish healthcare really offers. We are simply not good at it. Another problem is that stomach problems no real status within healthcare.”

Limited in their daily lives

Young women's stomach problems limit them in their daily lives. 45 per cent avoid eating various types of food. 16 per cent say they do not have sexual relations because they have stomach problems, and 13 percent do not have intimate relations.

Summing up his advice Robert Brummer suggests: “It is possible to modify your life in a more stomach-friendly way. Basically, it is important to maintain a regular lifestyle. Making sure you get adequate sleep, and eating breakfast at about the same time every day, so that your stomach has well-established routines.”

Also participating in the panel was: Sofia Antonsson, Registered Nutritionist and founder of Belly Balance; Sofia "PT-Fia" Ståhl, Influencer, and self-employed in healthcare, lifestyle and exercise; and Cecilia Elving, Member of Stockholm County Council.