Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome
When Your Child Has Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition in children. It affects your child's digestive tract, where food is broken down to give your child energy and help him grow. IBS causes irritation of the large intestine (colon). This is where water is absorbed from waste before it passes out of the body. IBS may come and go, but there are things you can do to help your child feel better.
What Causes IBS?
The exact cause of IBS is not known. But it may involve the muscle movement that passes food and liquids through the digestive tract. If food passes too quickly, the colon can't absorb enough water. This can cause painful cramping and watery stools (diarrhea). If food passes too slowly, too much water is absorbed. This can make the stool dry and hard (constipation).
What Are IBS Symptoms?
Symptoms of IBS can vary from child to child. Common symptoms include:
- Painful cramps
How is IBS Diagnosed?
To diagnose IBS, the doctor will start by asking about your child's medical history. A physical exam will be performed. The doctor may also order some tests to rule out other digestive problems.
How is IBS Treated?
When to Call the Doctor
Even if your child's symptoms are under control, contact the doctor if you notice:
- Weight loss
- Blood in your child's stool
- Fever over 100.4°F
- Fear of using the toilet, at home or at school
- Withdrawal from friends and family or prolonged sadness (which could be signs of depression)
Date Last Reviewed: 5/15/2006
Date Last Modified: 5/15/2006