Can You Help a Child With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

By: Lyndsay Whittaker

Can you Help a Child with Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Most people think that it is only adults that suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. No one would ever dream of suspecting that their child would suffer from such a painful, uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing condition.

However, children can and do suffer from this uncomfortable digestive disorder that causes bloating, gas and abdominal pain. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterised as a functional disorder that is thought to be caused by a problem in the intestines. This problem is thought to be the major cause of the recurring abdominal pain suffered by children and adults alike.

The symptoms that the child would generally experience are abdominal pain and cramping which will usually be relived when the child has had a bowel movement. The child may also suffer from bouts of constipation and/or diarrhoea. Again, these symptoms are almost identical to those that would be suffered by an adult.

Obviously any of these symptoms will be very scary for a child. No-one wants to see their child in pain or discomfort and that is why it is very important to get a proper diagnosis from your Doctor in order to help your child with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Getting a Clear Diagnosis

Changing your Child's diet may be recommended as the first course of action by your Doctor. Many sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome benefit from changing their diet to include more fibre and drinking more water along with eating more fruit and vegetables while also eating less fatty, greasy food.

Medications can be prescribed but as children are generally very susceptible to medications the first course of action should be the changes to their diet. Obviously these changes may take a little bit of time to incorporate into their daily routine. Everyone knows the many excuses children will come up with in order to avoid anything healthy!

However, even the smallest changes to their diet can have a huge effect. As an example changing from white bread to brown wholemeal, getting them to eat an extra piece of fruit a day, these changes although small can have a huge effect on their symptoms.

Making these changes can be easier when the child is a little older. When I first attempted to make these changes with my daughter, when she was very young, it was extremely difficult. She would stubbornly not try any new foods! However, as she has got older, she is now almost 6 years old, she is more aware of her situation and the effect eating certain foods can have on her symptoms.

Most Doctors do not know why children suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and they generally think children will grow out of the condition. However, if you try making the changes to their diet and the symptoms do not improve, you need to follow up with your Doctor. There are medications available that can help and also some relaxation techniques that the Doctor can show you so you can help your child when they are suffering from an attack of certain symptoms.

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