How to Manage IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) In Kids?

One of the most anxious and unpleasant moments in parenting is when our children fall sick. Every parent comes across such a situation as our kids grow and we try to get accustomed to it every time. No parent would be able to tolerate seeing one’s child crying out in pain or discomfort. So, we ensure and incorporate so many changes in our lifestyle to keep diseases at bay.  But Sooner or later we must be prepared to handle it.

Stomach Ache was one of the reasons for us being absent from school during our childhood. Children particularly kids of primary school age often complain of stomach aches which can be attributed to their personal eating habits or hygiene. These stomach aches would come and go quickly as they grow and develop. But if your child often complains about this ache, it is no longer a joke but a situation that demands medical intervention. When your child gets disturbed by repeated episodes of diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain it’s time to meet the doctor.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the common pediatric gastrointestinal conditions found commonly among kids, teens, and adults. Research suggests that IBS affects nearly 20 percent of the kid’s population. It is one of the prevalent diseases found in kids and adults and a common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists. It is a functional disorder that impacts children’s daily activities like schooling, playtime, and eating habits too. It causes recurring immune responses and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which leads to severe pain and change in bowel movements. It is caused by changes in nerves and muscles controlling bowel movement. 

As a parent, we need to understand how to manage and cope with a kid suffering from such ailments and support them further. There are many treatments aimed at reducing the intensity of the disease. The major factors which ease their discomfort are diet and a few lifestyle changes. Few modifications in the diet can help the child to recover better.

Dietary changes to be incorporated

Once a proper diagnosis is done few changes can be incorporated into kids’ diets. Each child is unique and hence their course of treatment. So before introducing the dietary changes medical supervision is necessary. 

One of the most prevalent diet patterns followed for IBS is low FODMAPs Diet Researches suggest that around 75 percent of the population get benefitted from following a low FODMAP diet.

If a parent considers starting a low FODMAP diet for their child they need to consider certain things. A proper and certified diagnosis of IBS and approval by your pediatrician under the supervision of a dietician.


FODMAP is an acronym that refers to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are a few carbohydrates and sugar alcohols present in certain foods naturally or as additives. Higher intake of such foods can cause poor absorption by our digestive system and affects our digestion. They can cause certain discomforts like severe pain and altered bowel movements. The principle behind a low FODMAP diet is to heal your digestive system and improve the digestion process. This diet follows three phases elimination, reintroduction, and modification of diet.

  • Elimination phase – Lasts for 2-6 weeks and elimination of all high FODMAP groups of food from the diet.
  • Reintroduction phase – Introduction one FODMAP food at a time to monitor the changes. Keeping a diary handy help in better monitoring.
  • Modification phases – Determine which FODMAP food triggers symptoms and eliminate them from the diet. Include FODMAP foods that do not induce any symptoms.

  Some high FODMAP foods are high sugar in mango, honey, and apples, a vegetable like onion and garlic, legumes, milk, and whole wheat. The foods that are included in the high FODMAP category (Bread, Cheese, Milk, honey, ketchup, pasta, crackers, yogurt) generally are much preferred by kids so cutting them down in their diet is quite tricky. You can tweak a few changes in their staple diet to make their meal time not fussy and healthy at the same time. 

The diet is to be followed for a period of 6-8 weeks with the gradual reintroduction of other types of FODMAPs foods in a systemic way.  

Some tips to ensure balanced low FODMAP foods for kids.

  • Start with low FODMAP seasonal fruit like pomegranate, berries and raisins, oranges, grapes, guava
  • Include protein like meat, fish, eggs, and nuts so that they feel filled up. Meat and poultry are to be onion and garlic-free preparations.
  • Addition of vegetables/Salads – Bean sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, radish
  • Choose whole grains and cereals like rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet for bread, and porridge.
  • Beverages like lactose-free milk and coconut milk are good substitutes for cow s milk
  • Nuts like peanuts, chestnuts, hazelnut, and sesame seeds can be a great source of protein 
  • Cheese variants like feta, lactose-free cottage cheese, and cheddar are some healthy alternatives. 

Providing a healthy and balanced meal with dietary restrictions is a hard task but never impossible. We can make their meal time pretty exciting as it was with few changes without compromising on its taste and health benefits. Happy cooking ….