IBS Centre (UK)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Specialists

IBS Statistics

Between 20-25% of the population report symptoms of IBS at some point in their lives.  Women seem to present more commonly with IBS symptoms.  Many people have symptoms but may not go to their doctor, or may not fit the criteria for diagnosis by a doctor.  Between 10% and 15% (ie. 6-9 million) are diagnosed with IBS.
It can be an embarrassing problem that people don’t like to talk about, or people are too busy to go to the doctor and hope it will just go away, or that it might be a bug or something they have eaten.

What is IBS?

IBS is usually worse in the morning; possibly because this is the time of day when worried thoughts are at their worst because they are planning their day around their illness.

IBS is defined as:-


Symptoms of abdominal discomfort or pain, for three days a month in the past three months, associated with two or more of the following three features:



Other symptoms include:-


‘The medical management of patients with IBS is often difficult. Doctors are still taught that IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, and patients readily sense that they are being told that nothing is really wrong with them. Many people soon come to appreciate that the range of medical treatments available is limited in both scope and efficacy.


IBS is best regarded as a complex of symptoms without a single cause. Disordered gut motility, visceral hypersensitivity, intestinal inflammation and genetic and environmental factors have all been suggested as being causative.  In some cases, a very well defined point of onset of syndrome symptoms seems to exist, such as after gastrointestinal infection.  The most plausible view is that the symptoms of IBS are an integrated response to a variety of complex interactions combining biological and psychosocial factors.  This implies that in many cases psychological and social factors contribute to the patient’s symptoms. The concept of IBS as a disorder of brain-gut interaction with physical and psychological components, which places the emphasis on the perception of symptoms and their impact rather than on the symptoms themselves, is a useful one when selecting treatment strategies.’


Notes from BMJ (British Medical Journal)