- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system.
- It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.
- It's usually a lifelong problem. It can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life.
- There's no cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms.
- The exact cause is unknown – it's been linked to things like food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive nerves in your gut, stress and a family history of IBS.
Page last reviewed: 9 October 2017
Next review due: 9 October 2020