Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem with how your bowels work. They can have other problems like bloating, gas, or wanting to poop more often.


  • A problem with the structure or lining of your bowels
  • Caused by physical or chemical disorder
  • A cancer and will not cause cancer
  • The start of other serious problems
  • Something you have to 'just live with'

Scientific test show that IBS is caused by changes in the nerves and muscles that control sensation and motility of the bowel. IBS is not “in your head,” but it can be worsened by stress and anxiety. Remember, IBS is a real medical condition, but it is not life threatening, and will not lead to other serious diseases. Your bowels just work differently than most people.

How Common is IBS?

IBS is a very common disorder and scientific tests show that about 10% to 15% of people in the United States have it. IBS is more common in women with almost twice as many women having it than men.

We do not really know why women get IBS easier than men. It does not seem to be because they have different hormones than men. It seems to be because women may feel sensations from the intestines differently. IBS seems to be the same in all different types of people here and around the world. IBS is one of the most common disorders seen by doctors.


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