Caring for children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Learn how our Gastroenterology, Liver and Nutrition Program cares for children with irritable bowel syndrome.

Related tests and treatments:

Our approach to irritable bowel syndrome

The GI specialists at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin treat hundreds of patients with IBS and other functional pain disorders every year. We take a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treating IBS and will work closely with your family to reduce the impact of IBS on your child’s life. Our team is also actively engaged in research on functional bowel disorders, giving us valuable insights into how to best diagnose and treat this condition.

Irritable bowel syndrome services we offer

Diagnosis and evaluation
Customized treatment plan
Pain management
Psychological services

Diagnosing and treating irritable bowel syndrome

There are no specific diagnostic tests for IBS. If your child’s doctor suspects IBS after a thorough medical history and physical exam, he or she will likely begin treatment to see if it improves your child’s symptoms. Treatment could include:

Diet modifications: High-sugar diets can trigger IBS-like symptoms, so the doctor might suggest reducing sugary drinks and other sweets.

Stress reduction: Stress can aggravate the symptoms of IBS.

Medication: The doctor will likely suggest lifestyle changes first but may recommend pain medication if your child’s pain is severe.

Biofeedback: This can retrain the brain in how to perceive pain.

Cognitive behavior therapy
: This can teach children and their parents how to cope with pain and other stresses related to chronic disorders.