Steph McGovern opens up about IBS that made her job a 'nightmare'

BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern admits she’s had to ‘leg it to the loo’ during live TV while battling IBS that made her job a ‘nightmare’

  • Steph McGovern, 37, from Middlesbrough, told how she suffered with IBS
  • Broadcaster added she’s had to ‘leg it to the loo’ before while doing live TV
  • BBC Breakfast star said she’s now ‘praying at the altar of the probiotics’

BBC brrakfast’s Steph McGovern has opened up about her agonising IBS battle that has made live TV ‘nightmare.’

The broadcaster, 37, from Middlesbrough, who has been working on new three-part series Easy Ways to Live Well alongside High Fearnley-Whittingstall, spoke out about the biggest health concern she wanted to improve. 

‘Well, this might be too much information for some, so sorry in advance. but for years I’ve had bowel problems,’ she said, in an interview with Bella Magazine.

‘I’ve got IBS, and sometimes it’s been so bad that I’ve had to leg it to the loo before doing live TV.’ 

Steph McGovern, 37, from Middlesbrough, opened up about her struggles with iBS during an interview with Bella magazine. Pictured, at The TV Choice Awards in London

The broadcaster told how she’s had to ‘leg it to the loo’ while live on TV due to the health condition. Pictured, Steph and Dan Walker

She continued: ‘I assumed it was just something I was stuck with, until I learnt that eating fermented food and drinking things like kombucha could help.

‘My IBS is very rarely a problem these days. Who knew talking s*** on TV could be so beneficial to my health?’ 

The programme focuses on quick and easy fixes that can help to improve our diet, fitness and mental well being, before the duo even try and test them out themselves.

With expert advice from Dr Zoe Williams, Hugh and Steph speak with a whole host of families to tackle issues ranging from stress and constant snacking, to gut health.

Steph learnt skills on how to help her IBS while filming new three-part series Easy Ways to Live Well alongside High Fearnley-Whittingstall (pictured together)

Steph was pregnant with her daughter while filming Easy Ways to Live Well alongside High Fearnley-Whittingstall. Pictured, with her bump at The TV Choice Awards in London in September 2019

Steph says she will certainly start applying the knowledge she’s learnt to her everyday life.

‘I am now praying at the altar of the probiotics,’ she explained. ‘They are a big part of mt life now because of the series.’ 

The BBC broadcaster was pregnant with her daughter, who was born in November 2019, while filming. 

The business journalist, who also hosts the BBC’s Watchdog, had the baby with her girlfriend, who is a television executive.

At the the time, she told her 383,000 followers on Twitter: ‘Well, hello world, just surfaced to let you know that we now have a daughter!

‘Born on Monday morning just as BBC Breakfast was wrapping up. We’re all fine and dandy. Just getting used to the eau de sick/poo I am now regularly wearing.’


IBS is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, characterised by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort, accompanied by alterations in bowel function.

It is hard to diagnose, as symptoms can vary widely, and needs to be monitored over a period of approximately 12 weeks for a proper diagnosis.

Fortunately, unlike more serious intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, IBS doesn’t cause inflammation or changes in bowel tissue, or increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Symptoms of IBS can include: frequent bowel movements (more than three a day) or infrequent bowel movements (less than three a week), abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery), abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency or feeling of incomplete evacuation), extreme bloating, lethargy, nausea, abdominal pain or cramping, flatulence and mucus in the stool.

Symptoms may be intermittent and can range from severe to mild.

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