Kids with IBS. . . How to Help
Kids with IBS? Yes, unfortunately, kids get IBS, too. I think I had IBS ever since I can remember, it was just never as debilitating as it has become in the past few years.
Be sure to pay attention to your child when they complain of frequent stomach pains, or as my son says “My waist hurts.”
This could certainly be a sign of IBS if your child is complaining of this often. By you having gone through it already, you will be able to give your children the tools they need to nip IBS in the bud before it dominates their lifestyle.
Of course, you must consult with a doctor about your child's complaints and symptoms before deciding it is IBS. It is important to discuss with a doctor, preferably a pediatric gastroenterologist, about your child's symptoms and to help rule out a more serious issue. Try to get your child to describe in detail his or her symptoms, and write them down, since that will be the most important step your child can take in order to get the proper help from you and the doctor. One very important thing: Explain to them that you understand how embarrassing it can be to talk about the symptoms, but it is necessary. You may even want to relay an embarrassing time that you have had at the doctor's office (yes, we've all had them!) to help them feel they are not alone and everyone goes through the same thing. I learned this the hard way when, after my son's doctor had left the room for a few minutes, my son had tears in his eyes and told me how embarrassed he was to talk about some symptoms.
My son has not been diagnosed with IBS, but he did have some stomach problems which seem to have resolved now, I believe, because of my knowledge of dealing with IBS. Hopefully, this will help prevent future problems for him.
The treatment for kids with IBS can be similar to adults. Of course, we don't necessarily want to have our child take medication for IBS, but if your child is absolutely miserable, this might be an option. You can check out
which is a very informative place with a pediatrician providing explanations, tips, and advice on may different childhood health concerns.
Otherwise, the best we can do for our child is to explain what IBS is, what to expect and how to get it under control. There is a great website that is written just for
kids with IBS.
A Few Tips to Help Kids with IBS
Avoid large meals – Kids have an easier time than adults not stuffing themselves. They seem to be satisfied with less food at a meal because they have more important things to do. But do remind them, that stuffing yourself will only make you feel bad. The “clean your plate” mentality is outdated and not healthy for anyone.
Avoid too much junk food – This is a tough one for kids, but if they know that too much junk food can cause their symptoms to be worse, they will think twice before drinking a giant soda.
Eat your veggies, especially those with soluble fiber - A small salad at dinner is doable, even for kids. And most kids like those little carrot sticks, which are a great way to get them their soluble fiber. I like to trick my kids and put the carrots and some cucumber slices in front of them while they are watching tv. They are just too mesmerized by Sponge Bob to notice what they are eating. You can also serve carrot and celery sticks with ranch dip for a snack, or place them on the kitchen table or counter. Every time they walk by, they may be inclined to try a couple.
Probiotics – There are plenty of probiotics out there, and they even make some just for kids. They come in fruity flavors and are chewable. Yogurt contains probiotic bactieria, however, some of the kid's yogurt have too much sugar, which can aggravate IBS. I tend to get a higher quality brand of kid's yogurt like Stoneyfield Farm. I also will open a probiotic capsule and pour it in my kids' cereal.
Listen to relaxation programs – Even kids can benefit from relaxation programs and hypnotherapy. Michael Mahoney makes a hypnotherapy program especially for kids with IBS. The coping and relaxation skills taught in these programs can only benefit kids in the log run and throughout adulthood (when life gets really stressful!). I certainly wish I had learned stress management techniques when I was a kid!
Kids with IBS do not have to suffer as much as we have with IBS. They can learn from you the skills they need to successfully manage their symptoms and lead a normal life.
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