According to nutritionist and therapist Petronella Ravenshear, roughly one in five people have it.
With it being such a common illness, it's worth knowing what to look out for. Here, Dr Ricky Gondhia gives us the lowdown on IBS including symptoms of the disorder, triggers and, most importantly, how to control it.
Dr Gondhia mentions that there are many different symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These include:
:: Abdominal pain and bloating
:: Changes in bowel habits - constipation or diarrhoea
:: Excessive burping
:: Aches and pains - including back pain
Experiencing any of these? Visit your GP.
Unfortunately there are a variety of 'triggers' which can result in a flare up of IBS. These can be anything from viruses and food poisoning, to diet, to anxiety and stress.
Leading gastroenterologist Professor Ingvar Bjarnason suggests that certain foods or food intolerances can set off or exacerbate symptoms of IBS such as coffee, wheat, pulses, alcohol, cereals, spicy food, certain fruits and vegetables and dairy products (to name a few).
He also mentions that these are specific to the person. And once it's flared up, there's no turning back.
How to control Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Unfortunately, IBS is incurable. There are, however, ways to keep it under control so that it doesn't affect day-to-day life:
:: Diet and exercise can help - eat regularly, don't skip meals, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, and drink lots of fluids.
:: Don't eat too much fruit and veg, as this can make it worse. Dr Gondhia recommends limiting yourself to three per day.
:: Medication and treatments are available from your GP to help control cramping and diarrhoea.
:: Psychological help is also available for anyone suffering from stress-induced IBS.