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Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition of the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome causes cramping, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Although the cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known, common triggers have been identified. Some of the main triggers include certain foods, emotional stress and hormone levels. Excessive bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract also has been implicated in the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
Certain people may be at a greater risk for developing irritable bowel syndrome, including those younger than 45 years old, women, those with mental health problems and those with a family history of irritable bowel syndrome. Women suffer from irritable bowel syndrome more often than men, and the condition generally develops in a person’s late teens to early 40s.