Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and debilitating functional disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, affecting around 9-23% of people worldwide and 10-15% of people in the US.
Why and how the condition develops is something of a mystery, although dietary factors and stress are known to make symptoms worse.
Symptoms include a combination of diarrhea or constipation, bloating, urgency (the need to use a restroom in a hurry), white or yellow mucus in the stool and the sensation of incompletely passing stools.
These can cause embarrassment for patients, who may live with the condition undiagnosed. There is no cure.
The triggers and effects of IBS vary from one individual to another, making treatment difficult.
IBS accounts for 2.4-3.5 million physician visits each year in the US, up to 12% of total visits to primary care providers. The economic burden is also high, with costs related to medical care, loss of productivity and absenteeism from work estimated to be around $21 billion per year. 82% of people with IBS lack vitamin D.
Source: Medical News Today