The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository
Warning ePrints Soton is experiencing an issue with some file downloads not being available. We are working hard to fix this. Please bear with us.

Online forum users’ views and experiences of managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): a qualitative analysis of discussion content

Online forum users’ views and experiences of managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): a qualitative analysis of discussion content
Online forum users’ views and experiences of managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): a qualitative analysis of discussion content
Background: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is common and often negatively affects quality of life. Patients frequently perceive medical interventions as inadequate and seek support from other sources, including online discussion forums.

Aim: to explore online discussion forum topics posted by people with IBS.
Design and Setting: a qualitative study exploring three UK-based online discussion forums

Methods: a scoping review identified UK-based discussion forums with high activity and frequent use that did not require a password/registration to view posts (two IBS-specific and one general health forum). Internal search functions were used to identify and export relevant discussion threads relating to managing IBS. Inductive thematic analysis of exported discussions was undertaken.

Results: analysis identified two main overarching themes from 122 relevant discussion threads: 1) sharing information and practical advice about lifestyle changes; 2) receiving emotional support. The most prevalent topics were lifestyle changes including diet, using oral preparations (e.g. supplements or probiotics) and physical activity. Dietary changes were usually considered positive, and most hopeful for potentially alleviating symptoms. ‘Emotional support’ was also regularly offered with expressions of empathy, kindness and gratitude and a sense of users feeling less alone. Some discussions raised concern around potentially inappropriate symptomatic reassurance, and negative or conflicting advice.

Conclusions: online forums seem generally a positive experience for those posting but include potential risks of misinformation. Most posts focus on symptomatic relief through lifestyle change and/or emotional support. Clinicians could gain a better understanding of patients’ ideas, concerns and expectations of IBS diagnosis and management by asking about patient acquired online forum information.
Teasdale, Emma
f156de5f-e83e-40c0-aafa-0c95dd17aa80
Clarke, Hannah
fcec7849-1d6e-4b3b-a323-70e325c7a89d
Chen, Nick
0303234c-2a68-48c5-8628-a080c8fb3644
Everitt, Hazel
80b9452f-9632-45a8-b017-ceeeee6971ef
Teasdale, Emma
f156de5f-e83e-40c0-aafa-0c95dd17aa80
Clarke, Hannah
fcec7849-1d6e-4b3b-a323-70e325c7a89d
Chen, Nick
0303234c-2a68-48c5-8628-a080c8fb3644
Everitt, Hazel
80b9452f-9632-45a8-b017-ceeeee6971ef

Teasdale, Emma, Clarke, Hannah, Chen, Nick and Everitt, Hazel (2020) Online forum users’ views and experiences of managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): a qualitative analysis of discussion content. BJGP Open.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is common and often negatively affects quality of life. Patients frequently perceive medical interventions as inadequate and seek support from other sources, including online discussion forums.

Aim: to explore online discussion forum topics posted by people with IBS.
Design and Setting: a qualitative study exploring three UK-based online discussion forums

Methods: a scoping review identified UK-based discussion forums with high activity and frequent use that did not require a password/registration to view posts (two IBS-specific and one general health forum). Internal search functions were used to identify and export relevant discussion threads relating to managing IBS. Inductive thematic analysis of exported discussions was undertaken.

Results: analysis identified two main overarching themes from 122 relevant discussion threads: 1) sharing information and practical advice about lifestyle changes; 2) receiving emotional support. The most prevalent topics were lifestyle changes including diet, using oral preparations (e.g. supplements or probiotics) and physical activity. Dietary changes were usually considered positive, and most hopeful for potentially alleviating symptoms. ‘Emotional support’ was also regularly offered with expressions of empathy, kindness and gratitude and a sense of users feeling less alone. Some discussions raised concern around potentially inappropriate symptomatic reassurance, and negative or conflicting advice.

Conclusions: online forums seem generally a positive experience for those posting but include potential risks of misinformation. Most posts focus on symptomatic relief through lifestyle change and/or emotional support. Clinicians could gain a better understanding of patients’ ideas, concerns and expectations of IBS diagnosis and management by asking about patient acquired online forum information.

Text
Accepted IBS manuscript 01.04.20_ - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (46kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 1 April 2020
Published date: 14 October 2020
Additional Information: https://bjgp.org/page/authors

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439167
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439167
PURE UUID: 411f0729-4b41-45c7-804b-5a63f9904202
ORCID for Emma Teasdale: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9147-193X
ORCID for Hazel Everitt: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-8403

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Apr 2020 16:30
Last modified: 13 Dec 2021 03:03

Export record

Contributors

Author: Emma Teasdale ORCID iD
Author: Hannah Clarke
Author: Nick Chen
Author: Hazel Everitt ORCID iD

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×