IBS affects an estimated 15% of the US population, corresponding to 35 million people1,2

The global prevalence of IBS is approximately 11%2

Is IBS more common in women?

Reported rates of IBS are typically 1.5- to 3-fold higher in women than men2,3

The prevalence of IBS-D is similar for men and women, while approximately two-thirds of patients diagnosed with IBS-C are women1

The difference in IBS rates between men and women partly reflects differences in health-seeking behavior, as well as differences in willingness to make or accept a diagnosis, rather than the underlying condition2

Female sex hormones and gender differences in viscerosensory perception may, however, play a role in IBS symptom incidence and severity6,7

Is IBS a condition of young adults?

IBS can occur in all age groups, including children and the elderly, though the majority of patients experience symptoms before age 351,8-10

Patients typically first present to a healthcare professional between the ages of 30 and 50 years11

Is IBS hereditary?

Both genes and environment interact to increase IBS susceptibility12

IBS is known to aggregate in families, and having a mother or father with IBS is an independent risk factor for an individual having IBS12,13

There is no single or dominant gene associated with IBS, though several potential candidate genes have been identified and the estimated genetic liability of IBS ranges from 1% to 20%12

The observation that IBS clusters in families is likely explained at least in part by shared environmental contributors, such as physical or sexual abuse, household stressors (e.g. ill family member or traumatic event), parenting style, and learned illness behavior 2,12

Is IBS associated with psychiatric comorbidities?

Psychiatric disorders and IBS appear to have bidirectional comorbidities, and approximately 40% of patients with IBS have some degree of psychiatric comorbidity11,14

Many patients with IBS may not have a psychiatric illness per se, but may manifest psychoform symptoms and somatoform complaints15,16

Is IBS associated with other functional disorders?

Approximately 50% of patients with IBS suffer from an additional functional disorder2

Common non-psychiatric comorbidities in patients with IBS

Chronic pelvic pain
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic headache
Chronic back pain
Temporomandibular joint

IBS is not associated with an increased risk of colon cancer17

Learn more about IBS


  1. Saito YA et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2002; 97: 1910-1915.
  2. Canavan C et al. Clin Epidemiol 2014; 6: 71-80.
  3. Sperber AD et al. Gut 2017; 66: 1075-1082.
  4. Andrews EB et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2005; 22: 935-942.
  5. Data on file. Forest Laboratories, LLC and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  6. Adeymo MA et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010; 32: 738-755.
  7. Chang L, Heitkemper M. Gastroenterology 2002; 123: 1686-1701.
  8. Rasquin A et al. Gastroenterology 2006; 130: 1527-1537.
  9. Tang YR et al. World J Gastroenterol 2012; 18: 7175-7183.
  10. Maxwell PR et al. Lancet 1997; 350: 1691-1695.
  11. Drossman DA et al. Gastroenterology 2002; 123: 2108-2131.
  12. Saito YA. Gastroenterol Clin North Am 2011; 40: 45-67.
  13. Levy RL et al. Gastroenterology 2001; 121: 799-804.
  14. Fadgyas-Stanculete M et al. J Mol Psychiatry 2014; 2: 4.
  15. North CS et al. World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13: 2020-2027.
  16. Sperber AD, Dekel R. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2010; 16: 113-119.
  17. Cash BD et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2002; 97: 2812-2819.