Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and medical misinformation: lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 infodemic




Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Medical Misinformation, COVID-19


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a multifactorial condition for which there is no known aetiology. The lack of evidence base surrounding the aetiology of IBS coupled with the variety of management tools employed by affected patients has meant that the condition has been an increased topic of interest amongst “patient influencers”. While there is a notable value to such influencers on social media in terms of peer-to-peer support and fostering discussions of lived experiences with an affected community, concerns remain over the quality and accuracy of information being shared. Medical misinformation poses a new global health threat; medical professionals remain powerless to filter through what has been dubbed by some as “misinformation mayhem”. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant gaps in health literacy and a lack of trust in the medical and political systems that were responsible for communicating health information. This literature review outlines the missed opportunities for counteracting medical misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies the ways in which these lessons could be applied to future communication and interaction with IBS (mis)information within the social media sphere.



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Bridging the gap

How to Cite

Lees EM. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and medical misinformation: lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 infodemic. Evidence [Internet]. 2024 May 13 [cited 2024 Jul. 22];6:e5444. Available from:

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