What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Please note that the Internet-based treatment described on this website is conducted in Swedish and only available to people registered and living in Sweden.

Do you have frequent stomach pains and suffer from diarrhea or constipation? Have you been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? IBS is common and can lead to serious limitations in everyday life.

IBS is characterized by stomach-related symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea. Other common symptoms are gas, bloating and a feeling that a bowel movement is incomplete after going to the toilet.

These are symptoms everyone has occasionally, but people who suffers from IBS have recurrent abdominal problems.

Typical symptoms

The IBS diagnosis involves repeated abdominal pain or discomfort and at least two of the following:

  1. Reduced pain when you go to the toilet
  2. Changed toilet habits (going more or less often)
  3. Changed form or changed appearance of the stools (diarrhea and/or constipation)
  4. The problems must have been ongoing for at least 3 days per month during the last 3 months, and the first symptoms must have appeared at least 6 months ago

IBS is a symptom diagnosis. This means that you are given the diagnosis based on the symptoms you have, when no physical cause is found that could explain the symptoms. It is not yet known what causes the IBS symptoms.

It is common that persons with IBS also suffer from several of these symptoms:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Sudden urge to go to the toilet
  • Tense belly
  • Mucus in the stools
  • Burping
  • Stomach noises ("growling")
  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux


IBS is not a dangerous condition. It can, however, be very painful and many people with IBS suffers greatly from their symptoms.

The symptoms can lead to major limitations in everyday life. You may for example start avoiding places where there is no toilet nearby, or you may avoid socialising in fear of your stomach getting upset.

When the symptoms of IBS causes obstacles in everyday life, CBT treatment has a good chance of helping you raise your quality of life.


IBS is very common and around 10 per cent of the adult population are thought to suffer from it.

Around 3 per cent of the population have moderate to severe IBS that requires treatment, and CBT has been proven effective in such cases.

Please notice

The Internet-based treatment described on this website is conducted in Swedish and only available to people registered and living in Sweden.