Poor diet has left millions of 30-something women suffering from digestion issues usually associated with women almost twice their age, research revealed today.
Experts who carried out a detailed study into health problems caused by low consumption of fibre, fruit and vegetables found as many as four in ten women in their 30s regularly endure stomach pain, discomfort or bloating.
By contrast, only one in four women in the older age group are affected by the same condition, the report found.
Researchers believe contributory factors include the fact women in their late 50s are more ‘health aware’ and generally eat more ‘good’ food.
But they also believe 30-something’s suffer in silence because they feel unable to discuss the ‘unglamorous’ subject with their friends and colleagues, so are less likely to address the issue and find a cure.
The research was commissioned by All Bran, in conjunction with their 5 Day Challenge, which quizzed 1,500 women of various ages about their eating habits and digestive health.
Rosie Millen, a nutritional therapist and founder of leading nutrition website Miss Nutritionist.com, said: “It’s alarming how many young women in their 30s see digestive discomfort as taboo.
They are letting their insides age beyond their years by doing nothing about it.
It can be as simple as making a few small steps like eating a wheat bran fibre rich breakfast cereal every morning which is proven to help with digestive discomfort – and will hopefully put an end to all those embarrassing tummy traumas.”
The study found that of the 40 per cent of 30-somethings who suffer from wind and bloating, one in ten said they felt so ‘inflated’ in the past that friends had asked if they were pregnant.
One in four of the younger age bracket said they regularly went up a dress size because of discomfort.
And, alarmingly, 18 per cent had even blamed wind on a child or partner to avoid humiliation in front of friends.
It also emerged 75 per cent won’t eat or take anything to help with cramps and pains – because they would rather focus their time and effort on looking good.
One in four even went as far as to reveal they had said no to sex because of a bloated belly, while one third said they avoided parties or missed work due to stomach problems.
Missing dates with a potential partner and losing out on job opportunities were also among the list of consequences of digestive issues.
Interestingly, over half of those surveyed were so embarrassed by their tummy niggles they regularly waited until everyone had left a public toilet before they spent a penny.
And nearly one in four used disabled loos so they couldn’t be heard.
Regionally, London women emerged as the ‘gassiest’ in Britain, with almost one in two suffering from embarrassing wind issues brought on by bloating
One fifth of women in the north east have dieted to try and lose weight only to find out the issue was digestive.
Furthermore nearly one in five (17 per cent) Liverpool women said they don’t talk about tummy problems amongst friends or peers.
Ruth Gresty, from All-Bran, said: “It doesn’t seem right that us ladies are going to such extraordinary lengths to cover up our tummy turmoils – which is why we are encouraging people to take up the All-Bran 5 Day challenge.
“As part of the challenge we are asking ladies of all ages to have a bowl of All-Bran – which is rich in natural wheat bran fibre – for five consecutive days, to see if they notice the difference.
“We are confident it will help them to feel revitalised inside and out.”