Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children (cont.)

How is IBS in children treated?

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Though there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be treated with a combination of the following:

  • changes in eating, diet, and nutrition
  • medications
  • probiotics
  • therapies for mental health problems

Eating, diet, and nutrition

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Large meals can cause cramping and diarrhea, so eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions, may help IBS symptoms. Eating meals that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables may help.

Certain foods and drinks may cause IBS symptoms in some children, such as

  • foods high in fat
  • milk products
  • drinks with caffeine
  • drinks with large amounts of artificial sweeteners, which are substances used in place of sugar
  • foods that may cause gas, such as beans and cabbage

Children with IBS may want to limit or avoid these foods. Keeping a food diary is a good way to track which foods cause symptoms so they can be excluded from or reduced in the diet.

Dietary fiber may lessen constipation in children with IBS, but it may not help with lowering pain. Fiber helps keep stool soft so it moves smoothly through the colon. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends children consume "age plus 5" grams of fiber daily. A 7-year-old child, for example, should get "7 plus 5," or 12 grams, of fiber a day.³ Fiber may cause gas and trigger symptoms in some children with IBS. Increasing fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams per day may help reduce the risk of increased gas and bloating.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/13/2012

Patient Comments

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Symptoms Question: What were your child's symptoms associated with IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Causes Question: If known, what is the cause of your child's IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Diagnosis Question: What types of tests and exams led to an IBS diagnosis for your child?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment is your child receiving for his/her IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Diet Question: What foods trigger IBS in your child? Please share your experience.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Probiotics Question: Does your child take probiotics to control his/her IBS? What dietary changes have you made?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children - Mental Health Therapy Question: Has your child benefited from talk therapy/counseling? Please share your experience.

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