Irritable bowel syndrome is exactly what you’d think it would be: It’s classified by a crampy pain that occurs at least once a week for two months combined with a bothersome and frequent stool pattern. IBS happens when the bowels are literally irritable, or trying to move things through faster than is comfortable. Actually passing the stool makes some people feel better and can relieve the cramping. The downside is that stools in IBS come more often than usual and are usually harder or softer than normal.
To treat IBS, docs will help you identify triggers that irritate your child’s bowels. The symptoms of IBS are one way your child may manifest stress, anxiety, and behavior issues; it occurs more frequently in school-age kids who have more homework and other stresses than younger ones. A high-fiber diet can help, and some families swear by peppermint oil: Just drops a day can soothe the savage bowels. Other treatments include antidiarrheal meds and drugs called anticholinergics (to slow things down) to let your child’s gut feel the benefit of his own homemade serotonin before his body takes it up and breaks it down.
Answer excerpted from You Raising Your Child
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