Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that involves normal gut contractions that are interpreted as abnormal, resulting a collection of symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating and unpredictable bowel movements.

What are the Causes?

While the specific cause in children is not clear, there are several factors that may cause an increase in IBS symptoms.

  • Symptoms can occur before or after a stressful event, such as a big test at school
  • Diet can be a factor, but foods that trigger symptoms will vary in each child
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea (or both)
  • Gas
Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Specific treatment of IBS will be determined by your child's doctor. However, common treatment can include lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Eating more fiber
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Eating less fat
  • Setting aside time for bowel movements each day
  • Finding ways to reduce stress in your child’s life
What Can I Do?
  • Encourage your child to maintain a healthy diet
  • Learn which foods your child should avoid. Keeping a diary of what your child eats and how they react will help you identifying foods that trigger IBS
  • If your child has ongoing symptoms that can’t be managed at home, they may need a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist

MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach has outpatient specialty centers from the South Bay to South Orange County, allowing a child with gastrointestinal conditions, like IBS, to be treated by a specialist close to home.

Our Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Center has a team of board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists dedicated to treating kids with liver, nutritional and gastrointestinal conditions.

From the time of diagnosis and throughout their childhood, the same pediatric gastroenterologist manages the child’s illness. Our approach to care gives families peace of mind knowing their child is in the hands of a familiar expert.