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Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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:

  • Sex —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.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2013 -
  • Update Date: 01/15/2013 -
  • Fauci AS, Braunwald E, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 14th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2000.