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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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  • prevalence is approximately10-15% of the general population (1)
  • affects females more often than males (approximate ratio 2:1)
  • annual incidence is probably 1-2%
  • only 20-30% of sufferers will ever consult their GP
  • constipation predominant IBS is more common in females
  • prevalence of IBS varies minimally with age (2)
  • IBS most often affects people between the ages of 20 and 30 years (3)
  • people presenting with IBS symptoms commonly report incomplete evacuation/ rectal hypersensitivity, as well as urgency, which is increased in diarrhoea-predominant IBS. About 20% of people experiencing faecal incontinence disclose their incontinence only if asked (3)


  1. Baillieres Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 1999 Oct;13(3):371-84.
  2. Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Aug;97(8):1910-5
  3. NICE (April 2017).Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care
  4. Prescribers' Journal (1997);37(4): 199-205.

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