Renowned Medical Expert & Patient Advocate Team Up To Address National Gastrointestinal Disorder Health Crisis In New Book: Gut Feelings


CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Dec. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans who struggle with frustrating gastrointestinal disorders without ever getting treatment or a diagnosis can now tap into guidance and advice from a world-renowned medical expert and one of the nation's leading voices for patient advocacy. Dr. Douglas Drossman, an award-winning gastroenterology researcher, and treatment innovator, has co-authored the new book, Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) and the Patient-Doctor Relationship, with a patient advocate, Johannah Ruddy, to guide patients and doctors on how to understand better, discuss, and treat these conditions. Gut Feelings is now available on and Amazon.

"DGBI are a national health crisis, widespread and misunderstood. DGBI, also called functional GI disorders, present as a collection of symptoms not diagnosable through traditional testing methods but through using symptom-based Rome criteria. Rampant lack of understanding of these conditions has led to millions of Americans receiving a lack of or misdiagnoses leading to suffering in shame," said Dr. Drossman. "We wrote Gut Feelings to serve as a guide for patients and physicians dealing with frustrating GI symptoms to legitimize and support them and to demonstrate how they can communicate more effectively about these symptoms leading to more effective treatments."

Dr. Drossman says that doctors, without the proper knowledge, may test patients with conditions like IBS, chronic bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain, and when the studies are negative, consider them second-class or psychiatric disorders. This misunderstanding erodes the patient-doctor relationship. By learning they are caused by a disruption of gut-brain interaction (DGBI), affecting more than 40 percent1 of Americans, doctors and patients have a clearer understanding of the causes of the symptoms leading to proper care.

Recent reports show that misdiagnoses affect over 12 million patients every year2. Misdiagnoses for DGBIs are common and often cause long-term physical and mental distress, disrupt the patient-doctor relationship, and lead to unnecessary tests and high health care costs. Gut Feelings co-author and patient advocate, Johannah Ruddy, M.Ed., shares her first-hand experience seeking a diagnosis for her DGBI spanning over a decade in the book.

"I lived this misdiagnosis, and my experience with my doctors left me feeling discouraged, ashamed, and frustrated. Despite the lack of formal diagnosis, I was still dealing with severe gastrointestinal symptoms," said Ruddy. "It wasn't until I began working with Dr. Drossman that I started to understand better ways for patients and physicians to communicate about gut disorders. My care completely changed when I was able to be honest about my symptoms, thoughts, and feelings with my doctor, which made me feel more empowered in my diagnosis and treatment plan."

"I now work with patients every day to help them advocate for themselves and their health. My hope with Gut Feelings is that it will help other patients and physicians understand the communication tools they need to work with one another to diagnose and treat DGBIs effectively," said Ruddy.

Gut Feelings analyzes the perspectives from both physician and patient on the diagnosis process for DGBIs. The book also details the background of DGBIs, insights from decades of clinical studies on this topic, and a guide for optimizing the patient-doctor relationship with tips on problem-solving techniques and communication approaches. This book also includes a section designed for the doctor that discusses aspects of shared responsibility and ways to use the book to work with patients.

Dr. Drossman, the Rome Foundation founder, is trained in gastroenterology and psychiatry and has dedicated over 35 years to treating GI disorders and researching the interaction between gut and brain health. The brain and gut are known to communicate through nerve signals, hormones, and the microbiome3. Researchshows that gut health impacts other key health areas like immune health, mood, and mental health. He has also developed communication skills programs to improve the patient-doctor relationship.   

Ms. Ruddy built her career as a patient advocate engaging with clinicians and patients to help them connect and understand the patient-provider relationship's value to improve outcomes. She is a national expert, researcher, and writer on teaching communications skills to patients and providers. 

Gut Feelings has already received praise from expert physicians in the gastroenterology space from prestigious institutions, including NYU School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and Mount Sinai. Gut Feelings is now available for purchase at and on Amazon.

About Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction and the Patient-Doctor Relationship

Authored by Douglas Drossman, MD, an award-winning gastroenterology and psychiatric researcher, and Johannah Ruddy, M.Ed., a national patient advocate expert, Gut Feelings will serve as a guide for patients and doctors to diagnose, treat and communicate more effectively about disorders of Gut-Brain interaction. Gut Feelings is a culmination of decades of learnings in the gastroenterology space and analyzes the perspectives of both doctors and patients seeking diagnosis for their condition. Gut Feelings is published by DrossmanCare in collaboration with the Rome Foundation. Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction and the Patient-Doctor Relationship is now available for pre-sale at and will be released this December.



1 Gastroenterology, Worldwide Prevalence and Burden of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Results of Global Rome Foundation Study, Sperber, Drossman, et al. 2020
2 DocPanel: How Common is Misdiagnosis: Infographic
3 Duke Integrative Medicine: Understanding the Basics of the Gut-Brain Connection 
4 Healthline: What's an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You



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