IBS Awareness Month

Since 2003, the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research has advocated April as IBS Awareness Month. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common functional disorder that at least one person within your social circle might have.


  1. Around 13-20% of Canadians (approximately 5 – 7.5 million individuals) are living with IBS but only 40% of them will seek medical help. 
  2. IBS is more common in women, but still affects many men
  3. People of all ages have IBS, from young children to the elderly
  4. The economic burden of IBS is $6.5 billion annually in Canada
  5. Canadians with IBS miss an average of 13 days of work per year, leading to a further $8 billion in lost productivity
  6. The primary symptoms are what we call the ABCDs of IBS – Abdominal pain, Bloating, Constipation and/or Diarrhea
  7. Symptoms can come and go, so the patient might feel well for a while only to get symptoms again

All images are from Instagram account of GiSociety: https://www.instagram.com/gisociety/

Colonoscopy & Endoscopy for IBS

If the patient has the below signs or symptoms, or if an initial treatment for IBS doesn’t work, the physician will likely recommend additional diagnostic tests like colonoscopy or upper endoscopy. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • The onset of signs and symptoms after age 50
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Nausea or recurrent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain, especially if it’s not related to a bowel movement, or occurs at night
  • Diarrhea that is persistent or awakens you from sleep
  • Anemia related to low iron

Colonoscopy for IBS
The doctor will use a small, flexible tube with a camera at the end, which is the colonoscope, to examine the entire length of the colon. The colonoscope will be inserted up through the patient’s back passage to observe the large bowel (intestines) and the end of the small bowel in great detail.

Endoscopy for IBS
A long, flexible tube with a camera at the end, which is the endoscope, will be inserted down the patient’s throat and into the esophagus that connects the mouth, stomach and upper small bowel. The camera on the end of the tube allows the doctor to inspect the upper digestive tract and obtain a tissue sample (biopsy) from the small intestine and fluid to look for overgrowth of bacteria. The tissue samples from the lining of the bowel wall will be sent to the laboratory to look for conditions such as coeliac disease (true allergy to wheat). The biopsy samples can also be analyzed directly by the doctor doing the test to check for lactose intolerance.


April is Ibs Awareness Month. Gastrointestinal Society. (2021, April 6). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/ibs-awareness/


Everything you need to know about ibs. Gastrointestinal Society. (2022, April 4). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/ibs/


London Gastroenterology Centre. (2022, February 24). Irritable bowel syndrome. London Gastroenterology Centre. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.gastrolondon.co.uk/irritable-bowel-syndrome/


Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, December 1). Irritable bowel syndrome. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20360064