In most populations, rates of IBS in women are approximately 1.5- to 3-fold higher than those seen in men, with prevalence in women at 14.0% vs. 8.9% in men. Although in some regions of the world; South America, South Asia and Africa, rates of IBS in men are higher and are similar to those found in women1.

It is likely that gender differences in rates of IBS occur for a variety of reasons including; differences in health care access; and acceptance of the diagnosis by the patient as there maybe stigma associated with an IBS diagnosis. Overall, it is thought that gender differences may be more associated with behaviour of patients in whether they consult their GP for a diagnosis rather than the actual condition itself2.

With respect to IBS subtypes, diarrhoea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) is more common in men and constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C) more common in women.

1. Lovell RM, Ford AC. Am J Gastroenterol. 2012;107(7):991–1000
2. Canavan C et al. Clinical Epidemiology 2014:6 71–80