Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children

Can changes in what a child eats help treat IBS symptoms?

In some cases, doctors may recommend changes in what a child eats to help treat IBS symptoms. Talk with your child’s doctor about your child’s diet and whether certain foods appear to be related to IBS symptoms. The doctor may refer your child to a dietitian.

Research suggests that some children with IBS may benefit from reducing the amount of FODMAPscarbohydrates that are hard to digest—in their diet. For some children with IBS, doctors or dietitians may recommend a low FODMAP diet. With the guidance of a doctor or dietitian, the child would eat less of certain foods that contain FODMAPs for a short time and then gradually add those foods back into his or her diet.

Talk with your child’s doctor or dietician before making any changes to your child’s diet to try to treat IBS symptoms. Proper nutrition is important for growth and development. Trained professionals can help you and your child plan a well-balanced diet and develop or maintain healthy eating habits.

Family of four eating dinner.
Talk with your child’s doctor or dietitian before making changes to your child’s diet to manage IBS symptoms.
Last Reviewed November 2019
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.