On a scale of 1 to 5, how comfortable are you talking about your bowels?

  1. Shut the front door – never gonna talk about ‘em!
  2. No thank you –it is neither polite or proper to do so
  3. Suppose so… what have I got to lose?
  4. Yes, indeedy no worries!
  5. Bring it on – I have verbal diarrhoea

The bowel is a much maligned and misunderstood part of the body.  Granted, people probably don’t talk about their liver,  pancreas, breasts or even their prostate in public but none of these vital organs seem to have the taboo or stigma surrounding them such as those of the bowel.

This Christmas, Bowel Disease Research Foundation (who pretty much do what it says on their tin) are launching their JINGLE BOWELS campaign. We want to achieve three things:

A: Get you thinking about your bowel health.

B: Get you talking about bowel health.

C:  Get you to donate to BDRF to help eradicate bowel disease.

A and C are really important parts of this campaign – we need you to consider how important a healthy bowel is to a healthy life – and we desperately need some donations to help fund our latest round of research projects that will improve treatments for people with all sorts of bowel diseases.

B is optional – we’d like people to be open about talking about bowels so we can begin to break down taboo, stigma, embarrassment or indeed the perception of impoliteness.

So talking about shit and donating money? Right? ….. WRONG!

Talking about bowel health and donating money.

Having worked in the Bowel field for 18 months now as Chief Exec of Bowel Disease Research Foundation I’ve had all sorts of reactions, perceptions and assumptions thrown at me when mentioning what I do for a living.

I always remember an awful programme in the 1990’s You are What you Eat which I immediately switched over with huge disgust and probably anger – rightly or wrongly.  I seem to recall it was based around talking about faeces on prime time television.

We don’t want you to turn off – we’re not going to rub this in your faces – we just want to break down the social stigma surrounding bowels and improve bowel health.

So what do we hope to achieve by asking people to talk about bowels this Christmas? Well, you’ll be pleased to hear we’re not asking people to talk about their faeces. You can if you like – it’s up to you. There is even a handy chart that medics use called the Bristol Stool Chart to help categorise the stuff if that sort of stuff floats your boat.

What we want to do is to get you thinking about your bowels and not be embarrassed to talk about them with your friends, family or other people you are close to – particularly if you think there might be something wrong down there.

Know the symptoms of what could possibly be more serious than an upset stomach and more importantly when you must go and see your G.P  if you have particular signs of illness.

The NHS website is pretty much the go-to website to get this advice.

We don’t have a great deal of money to spend on advertising or any posh marketing campaigns so we’ve borrowed a few ideas from elsewhere and adapted them to get our message across.

Our first in our  countdown to Christmas starts today and is simply:

We firmly believe in setting our vision right at the very start and sticking to it at all times.  Our vision is to one day live in a world where bowel disease is eradicated.

Millions of people across the globe suffer from bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and a whole host of other bowel disorders such as bowel blockage, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

BDRF firmly believe that one day through medical research we will beat these diseases.

If we can understand what causes them, how to best diagnose them and continuously improve treatments we can ultimately eradicate them.

We can’t do this alone –so we’re asking you to help us make bowel disease history and support our Jingle Bowels campaign.

Please give what you can and forward this to your networks across social media.

Each day from now until Christmas Day we’ll be dropping a new campaign slogan along with facts and tips to help be aware of bowel health –  so do follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and now on Instagram too –  hopefully we’ll start breaking down taboos and encouraging better bowel health in the process.

Jingle Bowels Jingle Bowels …. Bowel Health all the way…..

Merry Christmas