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Child variant IBS

Hello, my son (aged 6) has been diagnosed with child variant IBS. He, sporadically, gets stomach cramps, constipation and pain passing solids. It started with cramps that were so severe they would wake him during the night. Now he occassionally gets stomach pains but the biggest problem is when he needs the loo. He is sacred of pooing because it hurts him so much and will be sat on the loo in floods of tears because his stomach has gone into spasm, mainly because he is scared of it hurting and has tensed up his muscles.

We tried going wheat free for a while and it helped a bit and I have said that we will start a food diary, which he understands and is co-operative about. He knows we need to fix this!

I would just like any information or ideas that people could share about particular foods that could trigger this and others that help. Also any information on the functional causes of IBS that I could also address.

Thank you :)

12 Replies

I am so sorry to hear the little guy is suffering! I have a hard time as an adult dealing with this - I can't imagine being six!!

I suffer from IBS-D, so I can't really give food advice. But I would suggest if you have a smartphone downloading an IBS ap where you can keep track of both food and symptoms - that way you can keep track on the go. But things that I watch for that might not include food include exercise, stress, sleep, preservatives, medications etc. I think they all can play a huge role in how my guts are going to react that day.

When I've been really crampy and bloated, sometimes gentle yoga poses will help reduce the pain (I think the one I do is child's pose), or a gentle walk can help a little.

Also - from my own experience when I'm in a bad IBS place, if I can refocus my thoughts/meditate/talk myself through the bad humps sometimes I can mitigate my issues. I've read about folks doing cognitive behavioral therapy, but I haven't looked into it for myself yet.


Oh,the poor kid! It must be awful for him. The only thing I can think of is to try and get something like a paediatric stool softener& Buscapan. your GP shud help you there.

Im the total opposite and didnt start with the IBS-c till I was in my late teens.

Good luck to you both :)


Could your GP send your son to a nutritionist who could help with advising which foods would help to east the constipation - bananas as known to help but there must be other foods he can eat, say porridge and plenty of bran


I also suffered the same symptoms as a child (but not diagnosed back then) but since recent events a surgeon has said it looks more like Chrones than IBSb, but my gastro sais he thinks its IBSb so its still in question?

I would seriously pursue a proper diagnoses before trying diet methord

1 like

grape juice, spinach and fresh pineapple are helpful to me and cause no distress. I started young too then got over it. Then it came back :P


Thank you for all the replies. It is so distressing to see him in pain. I also wanted to ask about times of day. He always struggles in the evening (after seemingly being ok through the day). Is this usual to have such a pattern to symptoms? Anyway, I have stocked up on banana's and pineapple so we'll try those and hope that they help. What are peoples experiences with GP's and this issue? I have an autoimmune thyroid condition and have found doctors really unhelpful, consequently I rarely go with any issues. Would a GP be able to offer much more than I can find online and through our own networks?

Thank you!


Patterns differ from person to person and can alter. Used to be morning with me now its after lunch. Peace for me is normal evenings


Poor little darling so young but do not despair this site is wonderful and I am sure you will be able to find a way forward to help your son. My thoughts are-

I agree with Stix what tests did your GP send your son for to confirm IBS?

Can you remember if there was some event that triggered these symptoms?

IBS and anxiety go hand in hand perhaps C B Therapy is worth trying.

Keeping stools inside is not a good so a stool softener may be of help but only

when you have a confirmed diagnosis.

Good Luck


I found my GP mostly useless - she just passed along the Canada food guide and told me to follow that. But they could give you a referral to a GI doctor - and they are useful and should know all the types of tests to do. I think regular GPs are well meaning but if you haven't spent time with IBS or someone that has it, they just don't understand. But maybe your GP is better than mine. It's worth a go.


Thank you. The GP diagnosed just from symptoms and prescribed an anti-spasmodic which we didn't actually use as it had to be used half an hour before an attack and we couldn't always predict when it would be. Are there particular tests I can ask for? It is interesting about anxiety as he is quite an anxious child. I'll look into the therapy too.


There are so many tests. I had posted a list of the ones I had on this site, but I can't seem to find the post now. And it might not be relevant, as I am IBS-D. If I can find it, I'll send you the link. I think the most important thing is to get a referral to the GI - they're really the ones that can start to help.

I also wanted to pass along another website that I find useful as it has the forums broken down into categories so it's easy to find what you're looking for. They have a big section just on IBS-C, and a section on children's issues. ibsgroup.org/forums/

Another thing that might be useful to have on hand is a doctor's note for schools for any issues that might arise from IBS, or any special accommodations they could make (things like seats close to the bathroom, not needing to ask to go etc). I don't know if he suffers at school, but it's probably much easier if they know beforehand, than if he has a bad episode and has to explain why - that is anxiety inducing for the best of us.


Thank you, the forum for child issues looks really useful! We home educate so school is not an issue (thankfully!).


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