Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition that causes abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel movements, and other symptoms.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

It is not clear why patients develop IBS. Sometimes it occurs after an infection of the intestines.

The intestine is connected to the brain. Signals go back and forth between the bowel and brain. These signals affect bowel function and symptoms. The nerves can become more active during stress, causing the intestines to be more sensitive and squeeze (contract) more.

IBS can occur at any age, but it often begins in the teen years or early adulthood. It is twice as common in women as in men.

About 1 in 6 people in the U.S. have symptoms of IBS. It is the most common intestinal problem that causes patients to be referred to a bowel specialist (gastroenterologist).


The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating, that have been present for at least 3 days a month for the last 3 months. People with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other.

-People with diarrhea-predominant IBS have frequent, loose, watery stools. They will often have an urgent need to have a bowel movement, which may be hard to control.

-Those with constipation-predominant IBS have a hard time passing stool, as well as fewer bowel movements. They often need to strain and may have cramps with a bowel movement. Often, they do not release any stool, or only a small amount.

For some people, the symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month, and then decrease for a while. For other people, symptoms are present most of the time.

People with IBS may also lose their appetite.

Signs and Tests

Dr. Prokupek will diagnose based on your symptoms, and may use blood tests to check for  celiac disease or a low blood count (anemia), and stool cultures to check for an infection.


Dr. Prokupek will work with you to find the best treatment for your symptoms, which may include lifestyle and dietary changes.


Dale Prokupek, MD is an award-winning, board-certified internist and gastroenterologist.  He has over 14 years of experience treating IBS, including the most complex cases. He understands the need for thorough evaluation, aggressive treatment, and close follow-up. Dr. Prokupek uses the most current, state-of-the-art medical equipment to accurately diagnose and treat gastrointestinal diseases.

I’ve been treated by Dr. Prokupek many times and am never disappointed. His attention to detail, his thoroughness and his professional, yet kind, demeanor is rare in the world of Los Angeles medicine. In an era when so may doctors seem indifferent to patient’s needs, Dr. Prokupek is someone you can trust.
— Julie B.

Dale Prokupek, MD receives outstanding reviews from patients, and has been awarded the Patient’s Choice Award. He is also an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Prokupek sees patients at his private practice in Beverly Hills, and at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.