IBS can’t be cured, but a combination of treatments can help reduce symptoms. Since foods are the main triggers, keep a food diary to help track which foods cause problems. Then follow these steps:
- Eliminate problem foods. Share the food diary with your child’s doctor. Together with our registered pediatric dietitians, they can help you design a diet that will minimize IBS symptoms while providing proper nutrition.
- Avoid large meals. Smaller, more frequent meals can help your child avoid cramping and diarrhea.
- Add dietary fiber. Fiber can help relieve constipation by keeping the stools soft. Ask your child’s doctor how much fiber is appropriate, since too much can cause gas and bloating.
- Use medication. Your child’s doctor may recommend a medication such as a laxative, antidiarrheal or an antispasmodic, which can help control painful muscle spasms in the colon. Antidepressant medicines may be use for some children to reduce symptoms. If so, they are used with great care to avoid dependency.
- Encourage exercise. Help your child be physically active, since exercise can help digestion. It’s also a great stress reliever.
- Consider counseling. If your child seems anxious or stressed, your doctor may recommend a therapist who can suggest relaxation techniques and coping strategies.