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Given that it effects 10-20% of the population it is hard to pull out any common denominator beyond we all have colons
In the US it tends to be seen in woman more than men, but in some other countries that is reversed, like India it tends to be more men than woman. One common factor that seems to start IBS up in many people is having a GI infection (either a "stomach flu" or "food poisoning" or "travelers diarrhea") However most people get this sort of thing sometime in their life.There appears that some people may be more genetically suseptible to it, based on studies of identical twins. It isn't completely genetic, but it makes you more, or less prone.I have seen no evidence that diet at any time in life changes frequency, but diet is a very hard thing to verify and quantify. People on this and other boards have reported being everything from complete health nuts to complete fast food junkies before the IBS hit. The people with strict healthy diets tend to be a bit confused because it is generally believed (but not proven) that these diets should protect them from any type of illness like this.IBS appears to be a disfunction in the Enteric Nervous System. A very vast interconnected net of nerves that controls every aspect of digestion (it doesn't happen by itself without coordinated effort of lots of nerves). Some people seem to be more or less likely to get this disfunction and it depends on what environment they find themselves in (like how many GI infections they get).K.
 
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