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What is irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS)?

Doctor explaining what IBS is to a patient

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common bowel problem causing mild to severe discomfort. It can last a long time. When you have IBS, you may experience:

  • Bloating
  • Gassiness
  • Stomach pain that comes and goes
  • Changes in bowel habits

In addition, you may also have either diarrhea or constipation, or both.

IBS with diarrhea is called IBS-D. With constipation it is called IBS-C, and when both diarrhea and constipation happen, it is called IBS-M, or mixed.

The IBSDetex™ Test from Quest Diagnostics helps diagnose IBS-D and IBS-M.

20% of people live with IBS

Who gets IBS?

Most people experience IBS-like symptoms now and then. Some people are at higher risk of these symptoms actually being caused by IBS:

  • Young. Most people with IBS are under 45
  • Female. IBS is twice as common in women as in men
  • Family history of IBS. The risk may be tied to genetics, home environment, or both

If you’re in at least one of these groups and you’ve been bothered by repeated symptoms, ask your healthcare provider about IBS. And remember, you’re not alone. As many as 1 in 5 people suffer from IBS. It’s very common. However, IBS can be difficult to diagnose. Learn more.