Search the Health Library
Get the facts on diseases, conditions, tests and procedures.
I Want To...
I Want To...
Find Research Faculty
Enter the last name, specialty or keyword for your search below.
School of Medicine
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. It is important to note that IBS is very different from a similarly named disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Recent research has shown that many symptoms of IBS are related to hyperactivity of the nerves.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What You Need to Know
- Irritable bowel syndrome, a disease of the gastrointestinal tract, is different than inflammatory bowel disease.
- IBS affects as many as 15 percent of adults in the United States.
- IBS causes serious pain and affects your quality of life, though it is not life threatening.
- Treatment options include lifestyle changes, psychotherapy and medication.
Researchers are currently investigating why the nerves are overly activated in this disease and what types of conditions may predispose patients to IBS.
The good news about IBS is that it does not lead to a more serious disease. IBS is not life threatening and is not inflammatory, infectious or malignant. However, the symptoms of IBS are real, and they can include pain that impairs quality of life.
Read a more in-depth article about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), written by Johns Hopkins gastroenterologists, which details the anatomical description of the causes of IBS.
Download a Diet & Symptoms Diary to help identify trends in food or stress triggers.
Why choose Johns Hopkins Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for irritable bowel syndrome?
Researchers are uncovering new information about IBS that will lead to better patient care.
Read about their research:
Gene Expression in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Multi-Center African American IBD Study.