Picture My IBS LogoThe Picture My IBS Campaign Showcases Original Patient Artwork To Express The Impact Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), in collaboration with Allergan and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is excited to announce that Kimberly P. of Pennsylvania is the winner of the Picture My IBS competition, an initiative aimed at encouraging individuals to express their experience with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and to share their journey – and the symptoms that affect them – through art and narrative.

According to a recent physician survey, when asked what was lacking most in IBS treatment, one of the most common answers was communication between patients and their doctors. As a result, the Picture My IBS competition was developed to engage, connect, inspire and motivate the IBS community to share their personal experiences with the goal of improving patient-physician communication and, ultimately, patient care. Entrants were asked to submit their own original artwork and corresponding story to showcase the unseen struggles many IBS patients face.

“There were many powerful images submitted by the entrants, and aside from artistic merit, the ACG also recognized the winning artwork for its creativity and motivation impact in expressing a personal journey with IBS,” said Dr. Brian E. Lacy, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Gastroenterology and one of the judges for the Picture My IBS competition. Dr. Eamonn M.M. Quigley also served as a physician judge. Through this contest, the College sought to highlight how personal stories and insights shared through artistic expression may help bridge the communication gap between patient and physician, which is particularly important in a condition like IBS, where symptoms such as abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhea can be embarrassing for patients to discuss, even with a physician.

The campaign kicked off in October 2016, at ACG’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Las Vegas, NV. The winning entry will be featured via PictureMyIBS.org during April – in honor of IBS Awareness Month – helping to bring to life the journey, struggle and hope experienced by many patients with IBS.

The winning artwork, titled “Darkest of Days,” chronicles Kimberly P.’s experience living with IBS: “How alone we feel when suffering from IBS. I feel so alone at times, afraid to go out and enjoy myself because a flare-up may happen. When I do make plans, I often cancel, making me feel like a bad friend. The gray bleak skyscape is my life and the red represents the pain I experience.”

Stay tuned, runners-up are being notified and will be announced next week. See additional submissions below. For additional information about the Picture My IBS campaign and living with IBS, please visit, PictureMyIBS.org.


Darkest of Days
Kimberly’s Story

Darkest of Days
How alone we feel when suffering with IBS. I feel so alone at times, afraid to go out and enjoy myself because a flare-up may happen. When I do make plans, I often cancel, making me feel like a bad friend. The gray bleak skyscape is my life and the red represents the pain I experience.

Living with IBS (Run Away into the Woods)                         Queen of the Throne
Debra’s Story                                                                         Aisha’s Story

This painting depicts how patients with IBS feel when symptoms suddenly start. They want to run away, into the woods, away from everyone, until the symptoms ease or resolve.
One common theme among IBS sufferers is the time spent in restrooms, whether it’s at home, work or in public settings. So why not take a frustrating occurrence and give it an elegant spin? The woman sitting atop the toilet is well put together — even regal. Although things are coming up roses, although she is at peace because she is successfully calming her mind as it rests on her lap, IBS threatens to interfere. She is the Queen of the Throne, but she could be dethroned by her sickness if she allows it to take control.

Wish I Was In The Pink                                   Tied Up In Knots
Beverly’s Story                                                  Koren’s Story

Wish I Was In The Pink
When I feel good, life is like a field of beautiful flowers. Everything smells wonderful and rosy like these peonies I drew. When I don’t feel well, it’s just the opposite; the distress rules my life.
Tied Up In Knots
My submission is about my struggles with my IBS and the resulting depression and panic attacks. The figure is tied up in her own intestines because I feel as though mine dictate my life, and she has no mouth because I often feel as though the doctors don’t listen to what I have to say.