There are a number of risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome. Being female seems to be a very important risk factor. Having an underlying psychiatric condition such as depression or anxiety is also very, very important. Thirdly, a prior episode of gastroenteritis. What that means is a prior episode of either food poisoning or a GI flu bug – something of that sort. The more severe the episode of gastroenteritis, the more likely one is to develop irritable bowel syndrome.