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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop IBS with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing IBS. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

There are few known risk factors for IBS. They include:

  • Gender—Women are twice as likely as men to develop IBS.
  • Age—Symptoms of this condition typically begin in young adulthood.
  • Stress—While emotional stress is always part of the disease and may aggravate symptoms, there is no evidence that stress causes the disease.

References:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113627/Irritable-bowel-syndrome-IBS. Updated March 14, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/irritable-bowel-syndrome--(ibs)/irritable-bowel-syndrome--(ibs). Updated July 2013. Accessed December 18, 2015.



Last reviewed December 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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