How does irritable bowel syndrome affect your life?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms have a significant impact on you and your life. IBS can affects multiple aspects of your life: work, social, home and family.1 Day-to-day, this can make it hard to function in a way that feels normal.1 For some people with IBS, this means withdrawing from social situations or struggling to work. Even worse, IBS may not just affect daily life activities, but also sleep.

How does IBS affect your health?

Many people with IBS will have poor quality sleep as they wake frequently throughout the night.2 The lack of sleep can make overall symptoms worse, particularly when it comes to abdominal pain. 2

It’s totally normal for IBS to cause feelings of depression or anxiety.3 Similarly to how sleep can negatively affect pain in IBS, your mental health can also impact how much pain you feel.3

In addition to mental disorders such as depression or anxiety, people with IBS may experience other health problems, such as chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic pelvic pain, or other digestive diseases, such as dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease.4

What are the risk factors for IBS?

You may be wondering what factors are associated with IBS. Women are up to two times more likely than men to develop IBS.People younger than age 50 are more likely to develop IBS than people older than age 50.4

Other factors that can increase your chance of having IBS include

  • Having a family member with IBS4
  • A history of stressful or difficult life events, such as abuse, in childhood4
  • Other health problems, such as
    • A prior severe infection in your digestive tract4,
    • Dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease ,
    • Or certain mental disorders like anxiety or depression

What can you do about IBS?

Remember, you are not alone, and you don’t have to suffer continuously. Many patients like you have improved their quality of life by speaking to their doctor about their difficult feelings or symptoms to find solutions that can help.

You may be wondering what you can do on your own to manage your condition. Read on to learn more about how you can manage your diet to help relieve your IBS symptoms.


IBS can have a significant impact on your health and every aspect of your life: the condition is associated with poor quality of sleep, depression, and anxiety. By consulting your doctor, you can improve your experience with IBS and your quality of life.


  1. Ballou S. Keefer L. The impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome on daily functioning: characterizing and understanding daily consequences of IBS. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2017;29(4): doi:10.1111/nmo.12982.
  2. Patel A, Hasak S, Cassell B, et al. Effects of Disturbed Sleep on Gastrointestinal and Somatic Pain Symptoms in IBS. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2016;44(3):246–258. doi:10.1111/apt.13677.
  3. Lee C, Doo E, Choi J, et al. The Increased Level of Depression and Anxiety in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Compared with Healthy Controls: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2017;23(3):
  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Available at: accessed 30.09.2020