Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, often including bloating. The condition is common and can substantially affect quality of life and cause considerable economic burden. Intense research efforts into understanding the mechanisms that underlie IBS (including the role of the gut microbiota, gut–brain axis, genetics and immune system) are ongoing and new approaches for effective treatment are being developed, including dietary management and novel drugs.

This Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology and Nature Reviews Disease Primers Web Collection on IBS presents a selection of articles from leaders in the field, covering key aspects of the pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of IBS.