One of the most problematic conditions that a person can develop is called irritable bowel syndrome. It is a disorder, not a disease, that affects people in their large intestines. When IBS strikes, it can literally come out of nowhere. Common symptoms are cramping and abdominal pain. It can also cause people to have diarrhea or constipation, making this particular condition very difficult to diagnose as well as prescribe a treatment for.
Doctors are able to do certain tests in order to make a conclusive diagnosis, and then they will prescribe certain pharmaceuticals, as well as treatments that do not require any type of medication, to help people that suffer from this problem.
It is even worse when it strikes a young child who will not know what to do as a result of the many debilitating symptoms that can affect people with this disorder.
Here are 15 tips that parents can use if their child has been diagnosed with IBS, a condition that can actually clear up on its own. However, instead of waiting, by implementing these strategies and remedies, you will be able to help your child get through this very difficult time suffering with irritable bowel syndrome.
Defining Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This is a condition that directly affects the colon. It can lead to many discomforting problems. A person may develop excessive amounts of gas, bloating in their abdomen, and severe abdominal pain as a result of IBS. As mentioned before, cramping, diarrhea and constipation are all possible symptoms associated with this condition, but since people can have all of these problems, they may not be related to irritable bowel syndrome at all.
It is very different from definable diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis where a doctor can do a couple tests in order to make a conclusive diagnosis on the problem. It is also different because it does not actually affect your bowel tissue directly as these other two diseases can.
This is good news in that you will not have to worry about developing colorectal cancer, which the other two conditions can lead to, but that does not mean it is simple to treat.
Who Gets IBS?
Although only a small percentage of the population will develop irritable bowel syndrome, it can happen to people at any age. It typically begins as a result of experiencing extreme amounts of stress, living a lifestyle that is reckless, especially in terms of your diet.
If an adult has this problem, a physician can usually attribute this condition to problems they are having at work, or difficulties with their relationships which may be causing too much stress.
The reason that medical professionals look at stress as a possible causative factor is because of how stress can not only affect the immune system, but also how it can imbalance many of our bodily functions.
If it is a small child, on the other hand, it might be related to a genetic condition or perhaps a sickness that is causing the problem. These wide ranging reasons for the development of IBS is why doctors must be very careful when making a diagnosis so that the proper treatment can be provided.
Multiple Symptoms Can Lead To A Diagnosis
If a person is experiencing many of the different symptoms that we have mentioned simultaneously, or within a very short period of time, it is much easier to diagnose than if you only have one or two symptoms of what could be irritable bowel syndrome.
It is especially true if a child has mucus in their stool, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, gas and either diarrhea or constipation. When all of these conditions manifest during the same period of time, in particular with children, the diagnosis is very conclusive.
Causes Of IBS In Kids
Irritable bowel syndrome has a negative effect on our colon, specifically affecting the intestinal walls. There are many muscles that lined the walls of the small and large intestines, all of which contract and relax in a rhythmic way.
When a person has diarrhea, for instance, these muscles are moving at a very rapid pace, causing the flow of waste to move very rapidly.
Conversely, if you have constipation, the muscle coordination inside of the intestines is going to be slow, preventing you from having a bowel movement. If a child is having difficulty going to the bathroom, or the next day has diarrhea, these are obvious signs that they have developed this problem and the causes for this condition can vary.
Doctors will typically look at what are called triggers which can be limited to four specific areas. They will ask about the child’s diet, how much stress they have been going through, and if they have experienced any recent illnesses that could lead to bacterial overgrowth in the colon.
A fourth possibility, specifically for children that have just started menstruating, their hormones could be out of balance. In fact, doctors will typically lean toward hormonal problems with adults as well, something that can become very imbalanced as a result of stress in their lives.
Prescribing A Potential Cure
Once the cause has been potentially identified by the doctor, they will be able to prescribe some type of treatment for the child.It should be caught early as it could lead to other problems including the development of hemorrhoids which can be very painful for both adults and children.
A very common treatment the doctors will recommend for both adults and children is to add quite a bit of fiber into the diet. The reason for doing this is that fiber will expand the digestive tract, and in doing so it will help reduce both the excessive movement of the muscles, or also help speed things up, primarily because it promotes regular bowel movements.
They will also recommend that you add fiber slowly to the diet because it can expand quite dramatically, causing even more pain if a person is already suffering from bloating and cramping. For adults, doctors will always tell smokers to stop smoking for at least a week because it can actually cause either constipation or diarrhea to occur on an irregular basis.
More importantly, the nicotine in the cigarettes can affect certain areas of the brain, causing neurotransmitter signals to get crossed. Finally, doctors will also tell people that they have confirmed with IBS to eliminate dairy products because of how they tend to make all of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome even worse.
Treating Kids With IBS
As mentioned before, there is no actual treatment for this condition and therefore doctors are simply going to recommend what has worked for other patients in the past.
However, with children, the recommendations are going to be a little bit different because they will have different eating habits, different hormonal levels, and metabolisms that are running very high.
All of these factors play a role in figuring out how to treat IBS with kids. Now that you have a better idea of what may be causing irritable bowel syndrome in children, the following 15 tips will help any parent prevent IBS from affecting their child, help them deal with IBS if their child is currently experiencing it, and finally how to prevent it from happening again.
15 Tips For Parents That Have Kids With IBS
Tip 1 – Make sure that your child has plenty of fiber in their diet. Fiber can help prevent IBS from occurring by eliminating excessive bacterial buildup in the intestines, something that might lead to developing this condition.
Tip 2 – Monitor the mood swings of your children. Try to make sure that they are always as happy as possible.
Tip 3 – Make sure that they do not eat large meals before going to bed as this can offset the functionality of the colon.
Tip 4 – Meals should be smaller in general, allowing them to have snacks throughout the day in very regular intervals.
Tip 5 – Exercise with them as much as you can, or make sure that they have plenty of time running around outside.
Tip 6 – Ensure that they get plenty of sleep as this can help reset the body so that it functions much more efficiently.
Tip 7 – Limit the amount of sugar that they get as this can increase insulin amounts in the body which some researchers have attributed to a potential problem for IBS sufferers.
Tip 8 – Always be aware of how they are feeling. If you notice that they are having stomach cramps, or they have issues such as diarrhea or constipation, you should take them to the doctor right away for a proper diagnosis.
Tip 9 – Cut back on the dairy as this has been shown to affect the enzymes in your intestines which can lead to IBS occurring.
Tip 10 – If your child seems to have problems with digesting gluten, make sure that you eliminate as much wheat as possible from their diet.
Tip 11 – Although most children do not like foods like sushi, any type of raw fish, or even cold salmon and tuna can have bacteria that can exacerbate this problem.
If your child does the tuna fish sandwiches, or does have a preference for sushi from time to time, if they are experiencing IBS symptoms, it’s definitely time to cut back.
Tip 12 – Kids love to eat popcorn, especially at a movie, but the butter in the popcorn, as well as the abrasive insoluble fiber particles that make up this favorite treat can actually wreak havoc in the intestines. Limit the amount of popcorn that they have on a weekly basis and it should not lead to developing
Tip 13 – Many people give trail mix and dried fruit to their kids, but if they currently have IBS symptoms, or have been diagnosed with it, you need to cut this out of their diet. It will simply irritate your stomach and intestines as it is processed through, so no trail mix until their irritable bowel syndrome is cleared up
Tip 14 – Your kids should have plenty of water every single day, as much as 6 12 ounce glasses if possible.
This will help keep them regular, preventing the possibility of developing constipation which could actually lead to IBS developing by aggravating the normal function of the muscles in the colon.
Tip 15 – Finally, have fun with your kids as much as possible. It’s always good to laugh and play. Stress is considered to be the number one cause of IBS because it can cause a disconnect between the muscles in the colon and the area of the brain that controls their movement. Eliminating as much stress as possible is important for the prevention, as well as the treatment, for IBS.
In conclusion, this condition is very difficult to diagnose and prescribe any type of treatment for because of the wide variety of symptoms that can occur. By following these 15 tips for parents with kids that have IBS, you will not only be able to help your kids while they have it, but help prevent it from coming back again.