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Pediatric Corner: Advances in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
01/16/14  7:49 PM PST
Pediatric Corner: Advances in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS and Stress

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to 20% of adults and up to 14% of children in the U.S.  IBS is described by researchers as a gut-brain disorder because of the way serotonin signaling is altered in IBS patients. Serotonin is a key mediator of gut motility, or movement, and sensory perception.  People with IBS appear to have a greater perception to pain and are more affected by stress hormones that alter motility in response to external stressors.

People with IBS also appear to have alterations in gut bacteria, contributing to bloating, altered motility of the large intestine and increased sensitivity to pain. Gut bacteria are part of your normal flora. They ferment fiber from the food you eat to make compounds that benefit your immune system and gastrointestinal health. In some people, this fermentation leads to gas and bloating. Researchers are finding that one way to counteract this is to limit foods that are fermented by gut bacteria. These foods are grouped into a category known as FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols). Fructose (high fructose corn syrup, apples, fruit juice), fructans and galactans (wheat, soy, legumes), lactose (dairy products) and sugar alcohols (sorbitol, maltitol, stone fruits) are among the offending carbohydrates. The low FODMAP diet was developed by researchers at Monash University in Australia.

See more examples of FODMAPs here.



  1. laure
    Posted January 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm PST

    Thanks so much for this article! My son has had IBS and has suffered from symptoms since he was a little guy. No one could really tell me what to do to help him. Finally, a few years ago a doc suggested he had IBS but the information was pretty vague that i could find on the condition, and it did not mention kids at all, nor the heightened perception of pain thing. This article provides some really valuable information for us. Thanks again!

  2. Posted January 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm PST

    Thank you for your comment! You can find more information and additional resources from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

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