What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?  

IBS is not a single medical condition, but a collection of gastrointestinal symptoms that may not be related to other bowel conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.


Why IBS happens is not entirely known, though some studies have linked IBS with abnormalities in the nerves of the intestines.

While IBS is not usually considered life-threatening, the severity of the condition varies from person to person and could last from days to months. 

What are the symptoms of IBS?  

Patients with IBS may experience the following symptoms:

Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain

Bloating of the abdomen

Bloating of the abdomen

Frequent changes

Frequent changes in bowel movements


Diarrhoea (sometimes recurring)

Some IBS patients may experience episodes of constipation and diarrhoea. These symptoms may go away on their own, though they tend to come back after a while.

What are the risk factors of irritable bowel syndrome? 

Although IBS is a fairly common gastrointestinal condition, several factors may cause greater discomfort to the patient. 

  • IBS is more likely to occur in people below the age of 50

  • Women are more likely to get IBS

  • Psychological conditions can increase the chances of getting IBS

  • Having a recent infection in the gut

  • Taking Antibiotics

  • Having a family history of IBS


While the constant use of laxatives may cause changes in bowel habits, making a person experience symptoms of IBS, food allergies and intolerances may also trigger IBS in some cases.

When should I see a doctor? 

While IBS does not pose any major health risks, it can affect a person’s quality of life. Based on the risk factors of the condition, you may or may not develop the disease.

An experienced gastrointestinal doctor can help you understand if you can develop IBS and provide you with the proper treatment needed to control IBS and live a normal life.

Get in touch with a gastrointestinal doctor to help you with IBS 

Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah is a Sydney-based hepatologist and gastroenterologist who aims to give his patients the best diagnosis and treatment they need.

If you have IBS or suspect that you may have it, schedule an appointment with Dr Vivekanandarajah for treatment and support.

Where would you like to consult Dr Suhirdan?

St Vincent's Clinic

Get in touch with us for advice, treatment and support for irritable bowel syndrome. 

Get in touch with us for advice, treatment and support for irritable bowel syndrome. 

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