Which patient groups have the highest prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Mohammad F El-Baba, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Irritable bowel syndrome is not well characterized outside Western countries. According to reported studies, the disease prevalence is lower in Hispanic and Asian populations than in Caucasian populations, and whites are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome than blacks.

Women are 2-3 times more likely than men to have irritable bowel syndrome. In pediatric patients, both sexes are equally affected.

Irritable bowel syndrome is generally a disorder of young people. One half of patients experience symptom onset when younger than 35 years, and 40% of patients are aged 35-50 years when symptoms begin. Irritable bowel syndrome is recognized in children. Symptoms consistent with irritable bowel syndrome are reported in 16% of students aged 11-17 years. Irritable bowel syndrome is not described in preschool-aged and younger children because the diagnosis depends on the child's ability to report detailed symptoms.

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