A woman holds her head in her hands, with a look of exhaustion and disappointment looking at a table with tarot cards spread out in no order. "Irritable Bowel Syndrome In America" is written to her left.

IBS is Unpredictable and Stressful

We surveyed people with IBS to better understand what it is like to live with a chronic condition that can be unpredictable, difficult to manage, and requires restrictive diets. The emotional toll of IBS is also a trigger for symptoms, which can lead to a vicious cycle.

Treatments & medications

Less than half of people surveyed have ever tried a prescription IBS medication. This is mostly because of a lack of recommendation from a healthcare provider, in addition to concerns over potential side effects.

Hand holding tarot card printed with an image of a woman who seems confused, sitting on a throne, holding pill bottles in each hand.

Out of control

Almost all IBS patients do not feel their current treatment plan controls their IBS symptoms. Only 7 percent say their IBS is controlled. Many people choose alternative therapies, like probiotics and diet.

Hand flipping over three tarot cards. The first card has pills and represents supplements; the second card is a landscape and represents exercise, diet, and meditation; the third is a flower and features peppermint, FODMAP, and fiber.

IBS is unpredictable

People are constantly reminded of their IBS diagnosis when they go out to eat, travel, socialize, work, attend school, and more. That’s because it’s hard to guess when symptoms will strike. Not all triggers are alike, and they can change over time.

A woman holds her head in her hands, with a look of exhaustion and disappointment looking at a table with tarot cards spread out in no order.

Stress, anxiety & panic

Nearly half of people surveyed with IBS also have an anxiety or panic disorder. This number is not surprising to a person living with the condition. IBS breeds stress, and stress feeds IBS.

Two hands are held out, giving way to facts about anxiety and stress, illuminated by a magical bright light.

Top symptoms

Although every person is different, people who took the IBS survey found common ground on some of the top symptoms, including abdominal pain and cramps.

Two tarot cards. The first card displays a royal figure clutching their gut with urgency to move bowels. The second card shows another royal figure holding their stomach, clenching in pain.

The IBS in America 2019 survey was conducted online from July through September of 2019. Of the 1,629 people who completed the survey, 41 percent have IBS-D, 41 percent have IBS-M/A, and 14 percent have IBS-C.

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