This review highlights the stigma associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its impact on patient care and clinical outcomes. Stigma in IBS is prevalent amongst the general public, healthcare professionals and work colleagues, often related to poor understanding of the condition. Furthermore, it is associated with unsatisfactory outcomes including increased healthcare utilisation, psychological distress and impaired quality of life. Comparative studies suggest that stigma is much higher in IBS than in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a comparable, but 'organic' gastrointestinal disorder with overlapping symptomatology. This review highlights the lack of interest in IBS amongst members of the general public and healthcare professionals, and the need for it to be better understood. These problems should be addressed by appropriate educational strategies to raise awareness, and interventions to minimise this problem.