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< Back to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Page for Parents

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common in children. As food makes its way through your body, what is not used goes from your stomach to the small intestine. From there, anything left goes into your large intestine to go out of the body. This is called a bowel movement.

IBS occurs if there is pain or if there are changes in the bowel movement. These symptoms are not the same in everybody. Some may feel cramping, bloating, pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Many children have these issues every once in a while. IBS is diagnosed when these are regular issues. While stress does not cause IBS, it can make the symptoms worse. It may help to avoid some food and drinks that make you feel bad.

Often, no testing is needed, but a doctor may use tests to rule out other conditions. Treatment can include making some changes to a diet and keeping track of what you eat and how you feel. Taking medicine and reducing stress also may be part of a treatment plan.