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).
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.