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A Support Group Community for IBS Patients

IBS Patient Support GroupThe IBS Patient Support Group community aims to bring patients together for discussion and advocacy support combined with evidenced-based medical information.

When Irritable Bowel Syndrome was first described by the medical community, it was often described in negative terms with few treatment options. Thanks to research in the  discovery of new treatment options, women and men have begun to have lives improved despite the many quality of life issues related to IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, and a change in bowel habits. Some people with the disorder have constipation. Some have diarrhea. Others go back and forth between the two. Although IBS can cause a great deal of discomfort, it does not harm the intestines. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are two very different disorders.

IBS is common. It affects about twice as many women as men (in western culture) and is most often found first diagnosed in people younger than 45 years. No one knows the exact cause of IBS. There is no specific single test for all types of IBS. Your doctor may run tests to be sure you don’t have other diseases. These tests may include stool sampling tests, blood tests, and x-rays. Your doctor may also do a test called a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Most people diagnosed with IBS can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, probiotics, and medication.

According to the Rome IV diagnostic criteria definition of IBS, IBS is identified as one of the Disorders of the Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBIs), formerly known as Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs), with these different varieties based on symptoms and/or cause:

  • IBS with predominant constipation (IBS-C)
  • IBS with predominant diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)
  • Post-Infectious IBS (PI-IBS)
  • IBS unclassified (IBS-U)

Furthermore, each IBS variety can be further classified into mild (40%)moderate (35%) or severe (25%) based on patient-rated severity of symptoms.

IBS may be a lifelong condition. For some people, symptoms are disabling and interfere with work, travel, and social activities. Symptoms often get better with treatment. IBS does not cause permanent harm to the intestines and it does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer.

What to read next:

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Faces of IBS

This is the Faces of IBS project. We are some of the women and men who have IBS. If you would like to add your photo to this page, please visit

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IBS Diet and Low FODMAP Diet

The team at Monash University in Australia, led by Professor Peter Gibson, developed the low FODMAP diet. It wasn’t until then did they prove that FODMAPs could trigger symptoms of IBS and research acknowledge that diet could be responsible for IBS symptoms. In turn, limiting dietary FODMAPs became an effective treatment for 3 out of 4 people for treating their symptoms of IBS.

The FODMAP acronym was coined to classify groups of carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) found in foods and beverages, that are similar in length and structure. These, “short-chain” carbohydrates have been shown to be poorly absorbed in individuals living with digestive sensitivities, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and resulting in a common set of gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating and gas, constipation and/or diarrhea.

What exactly does FODMAP stand for?

FODMAP stands for the following:
F – Fermentable – Quickly broken down by bacteria in the gut and produce gas
O – Oligosaccharides (Fructo-and galacto-oligosaccharides) — Found in select vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains, nuts and teas
D – Disaccharides (Lactose) – Found in select milk and milk products
M – Monosaccharides (Fructose) – Found in select fruits, vegetables and sweeteners
A – And
P – Polyols (Sugar Alcohols) – Found in select fruits, vegetables and artificial sweeteners

The Monash Low FODMAP Smartphone app

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Gastroenterology 2016;150:1262–1279

Last updated on May 31, 2022