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- Irritable bowel syndrome in children facts*
- What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- What is the GI tract?
- How common is IBS in children?
- What are the symptoms of IBS in children?
- What causes IBS in children?
- How is IBS in children diagnosed?
- How is IBS in children treated?
- Eating, diet, and nutrition
- Therapies for mental health problems
Quick GuideIBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment
How is IBS in children treated?
Though there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be treated with a combination of the following:
Eating, diet, and nutrition
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.