IBS in children, teens and young people
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in children is not well researched, and most studies do not distinguish between abdominal pain in general and IBS specifically. However, one American study showed up to 14% of High School children and 6% of Middle School children may be affected.
As with adults, the causes are not really known; stress, anxiety, depression, abdominal enteritis, gut sensitivity etc all seem to be factors. Boys and girls seem to be about equally affected.
As with adults symptoms include bloating, burping, passing wind, tummy pain, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, or nausea (feeling sick). This can be a big problem if you're off school a lot, or if it's worse at times when you're worried, like when you have exams.
If you are under 16 and think you may have IBS have a look at THIS PAGE which is aimed at younger people and explains things in an easy to understand way. It's also important to talk to an adult you can trust about why you think you have IBS, and get it checked out by a doctor.
You might feel it's embarrassing to talk about how your gut works, especially if you have symptoms like passing wind a lot, but this is really important. Most of the problems can be controlled with the help of a doctor. Also, symptoms that are connected with IBS sometimes have other causes instead and need a different treatment. This means it's not a good idea to try to treat it yourself with stuff you can buy over the counter.
If you are a parent and think your child has IBS, again, you should get them checked out by a medical professional for all the reasons above.
Treating IBS in children
Many doctors try to reduce the symptoms with dietary and lifestyle changes first, but medication may also be used. Stress management or other talking therapies may also be offered.
Hypnotherapy and IBS in children
Dr Whorwell's original Manchester study only looked at using hypnotherapy with adult IBS sufferers. However, children are generally excellent hypnotic subjects and respond very well to it for issues of all kinds. There is more about this on my hypnotherapy site, HERE.
I am very happy to offer gut-directed hypnotherapy to children over the age of ten who have been formally diagnosed with IBS, please contact me if you want to know more.