Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that affects the intestine or colon. It is also known as mucous colitis, nervous colon, spastic colon, or functional bowel disease.
With IBS, the colon/intestine appears normal. However, it does not work the way it should. This disorder usually creates discomfort and trouble with bowel movements.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) usually causes:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or a combination of the above
Globally, about 2% to 24% of kids experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, with the incidence of it rising. This condition affects boys and girls equally. IBS is not life-threatening; however, it can be a long-lasting problem. Kids with IBS miss school more often; they feel awful and less able to take part in daily activities.
The cause of IBS is not known. Experts suspect that it could be due to genetics, previous history of an infection, or trauma.
Management of the disease includes the management of the symptoms. A typical plan consists of elimination diets followed by reintroduction of the foods in consideration. It is important to do this under the guidance of a qualified Dietitian.
In general, some foods that may need to be a part of your checklist are as follows:
- Include vegetables in your child’s diet plan, except for certain cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and cucumber – since they tend to cause gas and abnormal bowel habits.
- Serve lots of fruits. Rich in fiber and full of vitamins – fruits enhance the digestive system.
- If your kid is lactose intolerant, try substituting yogurt for milk. Else you can try plant-based milks.
- It is important to check for gluten sensitivity.
- Certain other common allergy-causing foods like eggs, nuts, etc., may need to be eliminated too.
- Say No to Sugary Items
Sugar is an osmotically active compound that attracts water. If the sugar content is increased by the presence of chocolates, candies, bakery items, sweets, etc., it can exaggerate IBS symptoms.
Go Low on Fried Foods
High-fat content food items worsen the digestive process. Consider grilling or baking – for a healthier option.
Lots of Water
Make sure your kid drinks lots of water. It will improve the bowel movement and will help him/her stay hydrated throughout the day.
When food passes through the gut too quickly, the digestive system can’t keep up. Hence, ensure your kid doesn’t rush through meals. Make him/her eat smaller meals throughout the day. Rather than 2 or 3 meals, serve 4 or 5 small meals. Make it a habit to serve breakfast in the morning, as this is the meal that stimulates proper bowel movement.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to diet and IBS, so maintaining a food diary can be beneficial.