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Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of having a health problem.

You can get IBS with or without the risks listed below. But the more you have, the greater your chances are of getting IBS.

Women and people under 50 years of age are at higher risk.

Your risk may also be higher with:

  • A recent infection in the stomach or intestines
  • Recent antibiotic use
  • Mental health problems


  • Ford AC, Lacy BE, Talley NJ. Irritable bowel syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(26):2566-2578.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113627/Irritable-bowel-syndrome-IBS. Updated September 10, 2018. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs. Updated April 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.