Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a common condition of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) tract that results in symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, gastric upset, and bloating. With constipation being the most common symptom. Although the exact cause of IBS is unknown, it believed to have a genetic component and is found more often in women and those with a western diet.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders. Worldwide around 11.2% of people have IBS. One risk factor for IBS is a western diet that includes processed foods. For this reason, IBS is much more common in the western world. It is estimated that 10-20% of the population in the Western World have IBS, while only 6.5-10.1% of people in Asian countries. IBS also occurs more often in women and between the age of 18-50 years old.
Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Age: IBS is seen in all age groups, but typically occurs in the first half of life. Around 50% of patients with IBS report having symptoms before the age of 35 years and most sufferers are typically between the age of 18-50.
Sex: Women are at higher risk for IBS than men. Some postulate that this is due to the hormone estrogen. Many women report a worsening of symptoms during their menstrual cycle. In addition, when women no longer have periods after menopause IBS seems to resolve or reduce.
Genetics: Genetics may also play a role in the development of IBS as 33% of patients with the condition have a family history of IBS. Several twin studies have underlined the importance of genetics in the development of IBS, being apparent in monozygotic twins than among dizygotic twins.
Western Diet: It is estimated that 10-20% of the population in the Western World have IBS, while only 6.5-10.1% of people in Asian countries.
Anxiety or other psych disorder: Studies have linked anxiety to IBS, the GI track is sensitive to and mirrors emotional upset.
Gastrointestinal infection or altered gi bacteria: like the rest of the body, the GI tract needs to maintain homeostasis. When the GI tract is altered due to infection or change in GI bacteria the person is at risk for a condition such as IBS.