IBS affects between 25 and 45 million Americans. Most of them are women. People are most likely to get the condition in their late teens to early 40s.
IBS is a mix of belly discomfort or pain and trouble with bowel habits: either going more or less often than normal (diarrhea or constipation) or having a different kind of stool (thin, hard, or soft and liquid).
The mornings with irritable bowel syndrome are the most challenging for Jeffrey Roberts. His stomachcramps up. He feels like he needs to be near a bathroom at all times. So he gives himself at least 2 hours to get ready for work. When he goes out, he often takes routes he knows will have public restrooms along the way.
This is reality for Roberts and up to 20% of American adults who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at some point in their lives. Their exact symptoms, and the severity, may...
It’s not life-threatening, and it doesn't make you more likely to get other colon conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or colon cancer. But IBS can be a long-lasting problem that changes how you live your life. People with IBS may miss work or school more often, and they may feel less able to take part in daily activities. Some people may need to change their work setting: shifting to working at home, changing hours, or even not working at all.
What Are the Symptoms of IBS?
People with IBS have symptoms that can include:
Diarrhea (often described as violent episodes of diarrhea)
Harder or looser stools than normal (pellets or flat ribbon stools)
A belly that sticks out
Stress can make symptoms worse.
Some people also have urinary symptoms or sexual problems.
There are four types of the condition. There is IBS with constipation (IBS-C) and IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D). Some people have an alternating pattern of constipation and diarrhea. This is called mixed IBS (IBS-M). Other people don’t fit into these categories easily, called unsubtyped IBS, or IBS-U.