If your child has symptoms of IBS, your doctor will want to rule out other, more serious conditions. At Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital Center for Digestive Health and Nutrition, your specialist will ask about the details of your child’s symptoms, including when they began and how often they occur. Since IBS can run in families, they will also ask whether any close relative has had similar symptoms. They may also ask for a stool sample, which can show if there is any bleeding in the colon.


More tests are usually not needed. However, if your child isn’t growing as expected or has other signs of a more serious condition, your team may suggest tests such as:


  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy. During this test, the doctor threads a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera through your child’s rectum to inspect the rectum and lower colon. Your child will be sedated during this test.
  • Colonoscopy. This is similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy test, except that the rectum and the entire colon can be viewed. Your child will be sedated during this test.
  • Imaging tests. CT scans, ultrasound or X-rays may be used to examine the digestive tract.
  • Lactose intolerance test. Lactose intolerance can cause symptoms that are similar to those of IBS. This can be a simple breath test, or your doctor may ask your child to avoid dairy products for one or two weeks to see if symptoms improve.