Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children (IBS in Children)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Facts

Quick GuideIBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment

IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment


Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that are similar to microorganisms normally found in the GI tract. Studies have found that probiotics, specifically Bifidobacteria and certain probiotic combinations, improve symptoms of IBS when taken in large enough amounts. But more research is needed. Probiotics can be found in dietary supplements, such as capsules, tablets, and powders, and in some foods, such as yogurt. A health care provider can give information about the right kind and right amount of probiotics to take to improve IBS symptoms.

Therapies for Mental Health Problems

The following therapies can help improve IBS symptoms due to mental health problems:

  • Talk therapy. Talking with a therapist may reduce stress and improve IBS symptoms. Two types of talk therapy used to treat IBS are cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic, or interpersonal, therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the child's thoughts and actions. Psychodynamic therapy focuses on how emotions affect IBS symptoms. This type of therapy often involves relaxation and stress management techniques.
  • Hypnotherapy. In hypnotherapy, the therapist uses hypnosis to help the child relax into a trancelike state. This type of therapy may help the child relax the muscles in the colon.


¹Di Lorenzo C, Rasquin A, Forbes D, et al. Childhood functional gastrointestinal disorders: child/adolescent. In: Drossman DA, ed. Rome III: The Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. 3rd ed. Lawrence: Allen Press, Inc.; 2006: 739.

²Hyams JS, Burke G, Davis PM, Rzepski B, Adrulonis PA. Abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome in adolescents: a community-based study. The Journal of Pediatrics. 1996;129(2):220–226.

³Slavin, JL. Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008;108:1716–1731.

SOURCE: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children.

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