Diseases & Conditions

IBS in the crosshairs

Newer approaches for irritable bowel syndrome are more targeted than ever.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
  • Reviewed by Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

illustration of a person sitting on a toiletUp to 45 million Americans have a condition that people affected may only reluctantly mention: irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Despite its prevalence, IBS is still somewhat mysterious when it comes to who gets it — two-thirds of patients are women — and why.

But scientists are steadily peeling this proverbial onion, with newer treatment approaches targeting pathways that appear to be involved in the cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation that disrupt patients' everyday lives.

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About the Author

photo of Maureen Salamon

Maureen Salamon, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Maureen Salamon is executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later covered health and medicine for a wide variety of websites, magazines, and hospitals. Her work has … See Full Bio
View all posts by Maureen Salamon

About the Reviewer

photo of Toni Golen, MD

Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

Dr. Toni Golen is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, practicing in Boston. Dr. Golen completed her residency training at George Washington University Medical Center in 1995, and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical … See Full Bio
View all posts by Toni Golen, MD

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

You might also be interested in…

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder in which your gut becomes more sensitive and the muscles of your digestive system have abnormal contractions that affect your bowel movements. IBS cannot be cured, but the good news is it can be managed to minimize the effect on your overall health and quality of life. This report explores how your digestive system works and what science knows about this mysterious disorder. We’ll cover the types of IBS, how it’s diagnosed, and best of all, what you can do to control IBS instead of having it control you.

Read More

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