Dietary Changes for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children

Many children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) notice that they feel worse after eating particular foods, such as fried foods, dairy products, and foods that contain a large amount of insoluble fiber. Eating too quickly, or eating at certain times of day, can also bring on symptoms.

Each child’s symptoms—and the foods that trigger them—are different. At NYU Langone, our doctors and nutritionists partner with you to develop an individualized dietary plan for your child to reduce the number and severity of IBS symptoms.

IBS Symptom Triggers

One strategy is to avoid foods that seem to worsen your child’s symptoms for two to three months. If you notice an improvement, it’s likely that these foods are triggering IBS symptoms. If you suspect that more than one food is causing your child’s symptoms, it is best to eliminate them from your child’s diet one at a time. If there is no change after eliminating the food, your child can go back to eating it.

Our doctors work closely with pediatric nutritionists to offer guidance about how to maintain a balanced, healthy diet while avoiding foods that trigger symptoms. 

New Eating Habits

IBS symptoms may be triggered by the way your child eats, not what he or she eats. For some children, it can be helpful to eat breakfast. This can stimulate a bowel movement, which typically relieves symptoms. Our doctors also recommend that children try to eat more slowly and avoid high-fat foods, which can overstimulate the intestine.

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