What is

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a common condition affecting the bowel. It's thought that 1 in 4 people in the UK experience the symptoms of IBS.

  • Stabbing, gripping or churning
    abdominal pain
  • Bloating and swelling of the abdomen
  • Change of bowel habit
    (constipation and/or diarrhoea)

IBS is not a specific disease but is defined by the presence of a group of symptoms which are present over a period of time. If you have not been previously diagnosed with IBS then you should talk to a doctor for further advice.

Anybody can develop IBS, but you’re more likely to suffer from it if you’re female. IBS can also affect people of all ages, but it often develops initially in young adults and teenagers.

Even experts don’t know exactly what causes IBS, but it is known that there are some common triggers for these symptoms. These triggers are known to include being stressed, diet, hormones and some medicines. Knowing what sets off your IBS can help you to manage it.

Even though sometimes you can have a bad day and feel terrible, there will be other times when your symptoms are mild - and you can go for months with no symptoms at all. Everyone’s different and it’s all about finding something that works for you, and living life your way.

Can you manage your IBS through diet? Find out with the diet section.

Everyone's different and it's all about finding something that works for you...

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What's next?

Symptoms of IBS

Find out more

Do you have IBS?

Find out more