IBS and Children
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, (IBS) is not confined to
any specific age, gender or type of personality. This
chronic disorder can be a part of anyone's life if the
digestive system is not functioning properly.
The syndrome often causes symptoms of abdominal cramping and
pain, constipation and diarrhea. Because it can become a
problem for anyone, it is important to identify whether your
child has any of these symptoms. If so, then you can take a
series of steps to help them.
One of the tell tale signs to help you determine whether
your child has IBS, is establishing when and how long their
symptoms have occurred. IBS is a chronic
disorder that occurs for a period of more than twelve
weeks in any given year.
You may notice the symptoms are triggered following a
stressful event in the child's life, such as a sickness or
school problems. While this will not be the direct cause
for IBS, it will often help trigger the symptoms.
If you have noticed several of the IBS symptoms in your
child, it is strongly recommended that you take them for a
doctor's opinion. This will ensure the symptoms are due to IBS
and not due to another disorder.
A doctor will be able to perform specific examinations
related to IBS to determine whether your child's symptoms are
due to IBS or whether they are due to a specific disease. From
here, they can make recommendations on how to treat the
It is also advisable to begin making changes in your child's
lifestyle to prevent further recurrences of IBS. You are so
much more in control of your child's diet than you will be ever
again. Keep an accurate food journal. Make note of the days
activities and any problems at school.
Do not administer the same medications an adult takes for
IBS. Consult with your pediatrician on any medications you wish
Ask your doctor about vitamin supplements or any herbal
supplements you may have heard about.
If your child is not physically activity, you
might want to encourage a change by allowing them more time to
run and play. You may have to restrict TV time. You may have to
go for walks or bike rides with them.
One option you may also want to consider is
talking with your child and establishing what might be
causing them particular stress or anxiety. IBS symptoms are
usually triggered by stresses in the child. If you allow them
to open up and talk about what is bothering them, it will calm
them down and help with the prevention of IBS.
Children will sometimes refuse to eat because they have
figured out that eating causes pain. Children can quickly
become dehydrated so make sure they are drinking plenty of
fluids - not colas or sugary drinks. Do not allow the child to
eat fatty foods in an effort to get him or her to eat.
Those foods will only aggravate the situation and lead to over
weight as well. If you add powdered fiber to their diet you
must ensure they have sufficient water as well.
Your child may be embarrassed by having to have frequent
bathroom breaks at school. Be sure to speak with the
teacher so that he or she is aware of the problem and does not
try to tell the child to "hold it" until class break.
When you combine a change in diet, shift in activities and
talking to your children about the things that they are finding
stressful, you will go a long way in preventing the
symptoms of IBS.
Knowing and recognizing the symptoms occurring in your
child, then taking the appropriate steps to treat or prevent
them is a way to make sure that you are helping your child get
rid of any discomfort.