Irritable bowel syndrome epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sudarshana Datta, MD [2]


Irritable bowel disease (IBS) is an extremely common disorder among the general population. The incidence of IBS is approximately 200 per 100,000 individuals worldwide. The prevalence of IBS is approximately 11,200 per 100,000 individuals worldwide. The prevalence of IBS varies with geographical and demographic distribution. Females are more commonly affected by IBS than males. The female to male ratio is approximately 1:2. The prevalence of IBS in USA and Europe is 10,000-20,000 per 100,000 individuals. In USA and Australia, 1 in every 10 people fulfill the Rome IV criteria for IBS. In Asia, Africa and South America, IBS is becoming increasingly prevalent as a disease of urbanization and industrialization. This is due to increased access to health care, higher stress levels and differing dietary choices.

Epidemiology and Demographics




  • IBS commonly affects individuals younger than 35 years of age.[18]
  • The incidence of IBS decreases with age.
  • The prevalence of IBS is 25% lower in individuals over 50 years of age.[15] [19]


  • There is no racial predilection to IBS.[20]


  • Females are more commonly affected by IBS than males. The female to male ratio is approximately 1:2. This is due to social and biological factors.[21]

Social factors:

  • Females are predominantly affected by IBS as the likelihood of diagnosis of IBS is 2-3 times more in women as compared to men. This is because health care seeking behavior for symptoms is 4-5 times higher in women as compared to men.[16][22][23][24] [25][26][27]

Biological factors:


  • In the Western pediatric population, IBS is the commonest cause of functional recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) as it accounts for more than 50% of all cases.[35][36]

Developed and developing countries

  • In USA and Australia, 1 in every 10 people fulfill the Rome IV criteria  for IBS.[37]
  • In Asia, Africa and South America, IBS is becoming increasingly prevalent as a disease of urbanization and industrialization. This is due to increased access to health care, higher stress levels and differing dietary choices. [6][38][6][39][7][40]


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