“The most common condition seen in gastrointestinal outpatient clinics is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which has a prevalence rate of 14-24% in women and 5-19% in men. […] There is no known structural or anatomical explanation that accounts for the pathophysiology, and the exact cause remains unknown”
Source: Nursing Times
It's generally considered to be a disorder of the brain-gut axis, viz. the disruption of communication between the brain and the digestive system.
It is known that infections, anxiety, and depression can significantly increase the risk of developing IBS.
Drug treatments are wide-ranging - from proton-pump inhibitors to antispasmodics and anti-depressants - perhaps reflecting the lack of understanding of the condition.
Other researchers classify it as a 'phychosocial' condition, which can be better treated with a psychological approach - e.g. talking therapies, hypnosis, CBT etc. etc.
Further info :Wikipedia
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