April is IBS Awareness Month!

April is IBS Awareness Month!

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, known as IBS, is a medical disorder characterized by:

  • Reoccurring or chronic bouts of abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort in association with altered bowel habits including diarrhea, constipation, or alternating episodes of both diarrhea and constipation
  • Other symptoms may also occur such as bloating, gas, or stooling urgency

Facts About IBS: 

  • IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States. 
  • About 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female. 
  • About 1 in 3 IBS sufferers are male. 
  • IBS affects people of all ages, including children.
  • Approximately 10-15% of the world’s population has IBS.

What Causes IBS?

  • IBS may result from a disturbance in the way the gut, brain, and nervous system interact. This can cause changes in normal bowel movement and sensation.
  • Stress does not cause IBS. However, because of the connection between the brain and the gut, stress can worsen or trigger symptoms.
  • An alteration in the number and/or the kind of bacteria in our intestines contributes to IBS symptoms in some people.

Key Messages about IBS:

  • The impact of IBS can range from mild inconvenience to severe debilitation. 
  • IBS can control many aspects of a person’s emotional, social and professional life.
  • Persons with moderate to severe IBS must struggle with symptoms that often impair their physical, emotional, economic, educational and social well-being.

Treatments are available for IBS to help manage symptoms. 

Although IBS is common in the general population, few seek medical care for their symptoms.  IBS can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.  Speak to you doctor if you think you have IBS.