WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Conditions

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Doctor examining a patient with suspected IBS

Is it normal to be scared of the doctor? Vote now! >

They say you should always establish your nearest fire exits whenever entering a new building. But for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it is usually the nearest toilet facilities. IBS is one of the most common disorders of the digestive tract, with about a fifth of people in the UK experiencing occasional symptoms, which can include abdominal pain, bloating, and bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation. The abdominal pain is usually accompanied by the loud rumbling and squeaking of gases being propelled through the intestines, which can be a great source of discomfort and embarrassment. People between the ages of 20 and 30 are most commonly affected, but it is twice as common in women as in men. The exact cause of IBS is unknown. However, there are certain things which can trigger an attack, such as stress, irregular mealtimes and, in some cases, a lack of dietary fibre. Some people even develop IBS following gut infections and food poisoning.

There is some evidence to suggest that certain types of yoga may help alleviate the symptoms of IBS. You can watch a yoga video tutorial for IBS here >

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I have had ibs for more than 5 years and each year is getting worst. I can no longer work due to the bouts of extreme dirherria I don't leave my house. I have tried everything elivial, questren, probiotics, low carb and disitil. Nothing works I don't think ibs is studied enough I believe it's an easy fast diagnosis for doctors cause they as well can not explain it. So frustrating especially when you get to the point you have to wear depends if you want to leave your house. Now i have hit the vomiting stage with dirherria from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. I gain 5 to 7 lbs one day and lose 10 3 days ltr. The pain is unbearable. I understand why depression kicks in.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi veronica I am so sorry to hear you are suffering with bile salt malabsorbtion and how it is affecting your life and your to boys. I am not on any medication at this time due to allergies i have towards medication. Since december 2013 i havent been able to eat a meal and live on sandwiches and chip butties. If i do eat a meal within 30mins i vomit it back and its very uncomfortable as it is progectile vomit and undigested food. During my last stay in hospital my gi doctor advised there is nothing they can do for me and this is the way i have to live for the rest of my life the sooner i accept it the better nice man. I live in hope of a miracle drug to help with this. I know there is a tablet you can take which is supposed to help with the bile salt its called colesevelam hydrochloride i hope you get sorted as it is horrible living with this condition and cannot beleive that i have been left with this condition due to having my garlbladder removed





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I've had ibs a year ago and recently it's came back. But this time I seem to be releasing a lot of fluid and has started to become very bloody! Is this normal in some cases of ibs??





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi. Im niamh and im 13. I was diagnosed with ibs 3 years ago. I have never really understood it. Plz help me





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hello my name is bernicehause every day Around 5o clock I always have pain in may stomch all day the doctor said I got ibs if you can help me please.thank you

For about a year I have had his problem, my doctor said it is ibs but hasn't given me a full diagnosis, I don't think I have a day where I haven't got diarrhea, but recently I can't control it, every 5 to 10 minutes I am pooing myself, I literally don't know it is happening until it had happened like I can't feel any pressure or anything until it had happened. It makes me feel so sick and gives me stomach pain. It really is taking over my life and I can't cope with it anymore, I have missed exams at college, I don't make it into college at all some days because of it, I am currently looking for part time work but working seems impossible with this, especially in the morning. I take mebeverine tablets and peppermint casuals don't they don't seem to really do anything, I try controlling my diet by not eating dairy, all I drink is water mainly, please can someone give me some advice because I'm only 18, and it's ruining my life





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi. I have ibs but i barely get pain. Any ideas

hi im 26 years old and ive been diagnosed with ibs for roughly two years. my doctor prodded my tummy and checked my height and weight and I had to give a stool sample which came back clear. but shouldn't he of done blood tests etc. every morning I have to go its not what I would called good. I sometimes have bouts of diarhea during the week days and then weekend I don't. its effecting my work social life I just feel depressed all the time what can I do to make it better





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Yes that what they did for me

Hi my name is julie i had my garlbladder out 3 yrs ago and since then i suffer with bouts of diahhrea. But always have pain and bloating in my stomach as soon as i empty my bowels i am in constant pain i have to wash myself abd use barrier cream after a bowel movement because of the acid which burns. I am limited to what i can eat as most things just come straight through me. I have built up a resustance to medication so currently not on anything. I was perfectly ok other than a little bit pain and acid before having my garlbladder removed. I have been in and out of hospital approx 6 times over the last 3yrs had numerous tests which have all came back clear and have now been told my problems has nothing to do with having my garlbladder removed and it is all psycological. My last stay in hospital i was told of the doctor who discharged me this is the way i will be for the rest of my life the sooner i expect it the better. I am not a whimy person and get on with life the best way i can but there is some days i am wracked in that much pain i think i cannot live like this its not fair. I was diagnoised with ibs in 2003 but never been treat for it as only had a one of problem i have also been advised since having my garlbladder removed i am symtamatic for bile salt malabsorption Can anyone help please





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi Julie I have been diagnosed with bile salts malabsorption an was put in questerian but never helped I can go to the loo up to ten time a day an can not leave the house I have 2 boys an they too have no life due to the way I am this also started 2 an a half years ago when I got my gallbladder out I'm 34 am it's awful just having no life not being able to go any where Just wondering did you get any more answers xx

things that have help with the constipation side ; magnesium supplements,fruit and vegetables ,also just 20 minutes on a treadmill will change your bowel habits a lot. peppermint tea works a charm for bloatedness.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

hello, I have really bad abdominal pain,i hade MRI scan,ultrasoun but the doctor sayed everything is normal ,but i am steel in pain ,and now my doctor ignored me,please help me,what to do??/ thank you!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

For the past 3 years I've have been suffering with what the doctor calls ibs, 3 years from hell! I struggle to get out of the house on a daily basis and have the feeling of anxiety permanently,I can't go on like this!! I've had the oxygen breath test,barium meal, endoscopy, colonoscopy bloods taken regular but nothing out of the ordinary. I've tried various diets and tried different eating techniques and different medications still no change, I wake every morning with the feeling of my stomach burning. I feel I'm pushing my family away with my moods this is causing me to have, I feel I could sleep all day. Over the past 6 weeks i weighed 84kg and now gone down to 66kg which is quite alarming! Please help I've have nowhere else to turn.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Doctor Responses: IBS

    In Videos - Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about Irr…

  2. Episode 3

    In Episodes - Patients consulted and diagnosed by the doctors in Episode 3 includ…

  3. Episode 8

    In Episodes - The final episode of the series included a patient with the embaras…

  4. Body Check: Stools

    In Videos - Dr Christian describes what different shapes and colours of poo can…

  5. Breasts

    In Episodes - In this second of four specials, the Embarrassing Illnesses doctors…

  6. Men

    In Episodes - The EI Docs go in search of the most elusive creature in the doctor…

  7. Vaginas

    In Episodes - The EI team roll into Norwich to setup a clinic in one of the count…

  8. Doctor Responses: Periods

    In Videos - Doctor Pixie answers your most frequently asked questions about per…

  9. Boys, Boys, Boys

    In Episodes - Episode 3 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies takes a closer look at bin…

  10. Teens Below the Belt

    In Episodes - Episode 4 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies tackles conditions includi…

  11. Am I Normal?

    In Episodes - Episode 2 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies looks at conditions includ…

  12. Consultation: Second Adult Circumcision

    In Videos - Dr Jessen examines a patient in need of a new circumcision

  13. James Russell

    Doctor Info - Find out more about James Russell.

  14. Dr Priya Manickavasagar

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Priya.

  15. Consultation: Soreness on the Penis

    In Videos - A patient is examined for soreness around his penis


More Information

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic (long-term) disorder that affects the digestive system. It causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation. Read More »

Am I Normal?

Share, explore, vote, watch… Am I Normal? is a bold new Channel 4 project that will redefine what you think of as ‘normal’.

Visit Am I Normal? >