Childhood IBS

The causes of IBS in children are similar to causes in adults.

IBS is likely to be due to a number of causes.

Possible causes include:

dysfunction with nerve communication between the brain and the gut,

mental health conditions like anxiety

overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.

problems with GI motility with excess contraction of GI muscles.

bacterial gastroenteritis.

A family history of IBS, increases risk for IBS in children.

Treatments for IBS often depend on the underlying cause.

Treatments include: probiotics, Peppermint oil, increased physical activity to relieve stress and anxiety triggers, fiber like whole grains, oatmeal, and fruits in 2 to 3g increments can help reduce constipation,

It may help to switch to smaller meals and foods that contain carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Avoid eating or drinking:

caffeinated beverages

dairy products if they make symptoms worse

foods like beans and cabbage if they cause gas

high-fat foods like processed or fast foods.

Management options include:


antidiarrheal medications.


fiber supplements.

stool softeners or laxatives

Mental health support

To receive a diagnosis of IBS, a child must have experienced abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation at least once a week for two months.

IBS is a set of symptoms and not a disease that affects a child’s GI health long-term.

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