my 10 year old son has been diagnosed with IBS.

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My son was diagnosed with IBS in September. He has now had an ultra sound scan, MAG 3 scan and Meckels scan with nothing found. So IBS is the diagnosis. When I read other people's symptoms my son doesn't seem to fit with these. He has not been constipated or had diarrheoa or bloated tummy. He just has terrible tummy pain. It comes for a few days/a week at a time and then can disappear for weeks. I have kept a food diary but there seems to be no pattern. He says it is cramp like pain but isn't terribly good at describing the pain. He rolls about in pain when he is at his worse. He has now missed school a few days which we have managed to avoid up until now. He had blood in his poo a month ago and was kept in hospital overnight and a scope was put in to look for an ulcer. I am feeling pretty helpless and although the Doctors have been great I am wondering if anyone else may have any advice. He has buscopan which helps little. He has been given an antacid which has mixed results but they are wondering if he is sensitive to acid. He is a pretty anxious boy but he appears to get sore sometimes even when he doesn't have anything to be stressed about. Any help/advice would be gratefully received.

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  • Posted

    I know of a couple of kids like that. Turned out to be Celiac Disease. Its often found quickly in kids at young age.

    Antacids arent the answer, theyre a quick sympton fix used by the medical profession, Ulcers arent caused by acidity, its by bacteria. Helicobacter Pylori.

    Anxiety can cause IBS. Kids arent born anxious. Usually over anxious parents or some stress elsewhere, bullying, unhappy at school...whatever. If there is no conclusive test results, start at home for the cure and work from there.

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    • Posted

      He has now been tested twice for Celiac Disease.  Once a while ago through a blood test and more recently with a biopsy.  He was also tested by biopsy for helicobacter pylori.  Both negative.  To be honest even if the antacids are a quick fix it would be worth it just to see him not being in pain.  He is not eating very much because he seems to be worse after food.  He is avoiding going to the park with his friends in case he gets a sore tummy.  He went to football last night when he was sore but managed to get on with it.   I would say that neither myself or my husband are overly anxious but I feel quite anxious about these tummy problems as it is so unpredicatable.  He is the same, worries about getting a sore tummy when he doesn't have one! He is not hugely keen on his teacher this year which has never been a problem so I do think this is adding to his anxiety and his problems have been worse this last year.   Thanks for your reply.
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  • Posted

    Well, nobody wants to see your little boy suffering like that. I`m a bit concerned about blood in stools. If its bright red fresh then less of a concern cos hard stools causes little hemorrhages in the back passage when straining (like piles). If he has darker red blood I would keep going to Docs until they find the reason as I never had blood ever with IBS. Not usually a symptom. As he had scan you should rule out swallowing something as a child. lego block, toys etc.

    Everybody is different and perhaps he has more acid production than most and certain acidic foods may make things worse, hence antacids helping. (I sometimes get cramps after vinegar, citrus fruits, soda`s or Vit C supplements etc and my whole body feels highly acidic). I dont take antacids as it blocks the natural production of acid by nasty chemicals, so try magnesium supplement instead.  One of the problems with IBS is you can have a spicy curry, fast food and feel fine, then out of the blue a simple salad can trigger it off. Its weird.

    Nuture or nature? Maybe he is just an anxious person and that gives him a nervous tummy and he is reacting to certain foods or events. I wouldnt worry uneccessary but does he stay with anybody else that could correlate to the events?

    Make a food diary and see what could be triggering it OR It sounds boring but I would try a diet of whole grain rice (40 mins boil), quinnoa, spinage (wilt by medium pan fry in olive oil for 2 mins), broccoli (steamed), sweet potatoe and salmon / chicken / tuna / lean pork - essentially variations of those foods for 4 weeks and see how he feels. You can add oats for breakfast to that but with water and honey/cinamon, not milk. Absolutely no treats in fast food like McDonalds (poison) or Coke, fish n chips or unhealthy cakes, crisps, sweets!! as well to limit sugar intake. Use hemp oil milk which is full of omega 3 and 6 instead of cows milk in decaffinated tea. Basically avoid anything out of a packet (that a corporate chemist has had a go at), Incl vitamins supps. Prepare all his wholefoods yourself. Dont use mouthwashes, gum or swallow toothpastes either (I filter all my tap water too). Make sure he eats slowly, chews correctly and to top it off get 9/10 hours sleep a night.

    If its not physiological illness then I expect your going to have to cure this yourself.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I am a children's physiotherapist in the south east.  I have been working with a gastroentrologist (Professor David Candy) for sometime now treating children with unexplained abdominal pains. We have found that the pains can often be exacerbated by exercise/physical activity, the children often stand with poor posture, often with a big curve at the bottom of their back and the corrosponding protruding tummy.  See if your son gets any pain doing the following movements:

    1. In standing with straight knees - bend forwards 

    2. In standing with straight knees - slide left hand down to the left leg and repeat on the right

    3. In standing lean backward to look at the ceiling

    4 In sitting - cross arms across chest and twist body to look over one shoulder then repeat to the other side.

    If any of the above movements cause him pain (especially his tummy pain) then ask your GP if you can see a children's physio.  I am afraid lots of people are very dubious of what we are finding however so was I when I first started being referred these children.  But as they mostly all had poor posture and disliked walking I thought I'd do a back assessment, correct thier posture and discharge... However the back often reproduced the pain and when sorted the abdominal pain went as well.  Let me know if you want some more advice.

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  • Posted


    Has any of these referees had symptoms of blood in stools?

    I can understand that poor posture may cause muscular/skeletal pains from the unnatural position of the body, I cannot see how it would cause blood in stools.

    All the evidence points to anxiety gastro diseases.

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    • Posted

      The blood in the poo is not a regular thing.  He had it over a weekend and was not at all unwell.  It was very dark red and the Doctors seemed to think it was something from the upper end of the bowel.  They did the scope and biopsies and found nothing.  I got the impression that they didn't really think it was anything to do with his regular tummy pain/IBS. He has now been without pain for the last few days which is such a relief.  Life is easier when he isn't in pain.

      Gina, I did the exercises you suggested with him and he didn't appear to be in any pain.  I would try anything that helped. Thanks.

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    • Posted

      To be honest I am not sure about the blood in pop history however these children often had constipation or other changes to bowel habits; they were initially referred to physio for relaxation for anxiety/abdominal migraines. This did not help, so I did an msk assessment and in most cases found that there were symptoms to treat which I address as parents were often desperate for any help. I was not expecting/promising to sort out the abdominal pain however when my objective findings were resolved the child's abdominal pains were also resolved.

      Over the years my impression is that the pain is referred from the thoracic nerves (T10-12 usually), I think this is due to neural tension on a growing child (episodes can be linked to growth spurts & the child straight leg raise can be limited due to the neural tension). This can be very limited but unlike in adults was easy to change with gentle mobilisations of the nerve.

      My treatment strategy is to correct posture, ensure the rib cage is moving normally and through it's full range of movement (pain can cause hyperinflation and tensing of the rib cage), gentle neural mobilisations then improve balance and control of movement

      We are trying to get the work published but I am not an academic and it is proving hard to be accepted by the journals that matter.


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    • Posted

      Well if a professor cant get a study published then nobody can!

      I dont know if they are run under the similar rules as clinical trials or not. Its probably a lengthy and costly process backed up with some good research data on a strong hypothesis. Doesnt your governing body of your profession advise you on how to proceed?

      MRI shows I have a disc bulge on T10 because of an RTA and it occured after onset of IBS (I now think caused by food poisoning). In fact my IBS got better after the RTA but possibly due to other changes rather than that. I tend to get muscle spasm and pain located to the area rather than secondary symptoms, thank god.

      Funny how the insurers claim that being thrown 20 feet and landing on my back has no relation to my T10 bulge!! Although also having haematuria for 5 days concurrent too.

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    • Posted

      You are right an article needs to be written like a clinical trial, I have no control group so that's a big negative to start... It is very time consuming and costs money and as there are no drugs, funding is hard to find. 

      We have presented to other paediatric gastroenterologists but they feel the kids get better by themselves (the stop attending clinics) but I think the parents give up on someone who makes no changes. That or they are labbled over anxious or depressed (not surprising if you have been in pain for years). 

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  • Posted

    As you say Kiki, darker red blood is a sign of something wrong further up the gastro intestinal tract and can indicate something quite serious. I would keep on the track of a gastroenterologist consultant to monitor this if I were you. Just a few days without releif isnt acceptable at all.

    Im not thinking its anxiety either. Why would that cause blood in stools? It doesnt.

    The boy has suffered severe pain and the blood. Thats warning sign enough isnt it? Could be anything from varices, crohns, gastritis, Intestinal infections etc etc.

    I bet if it were precious HRH prince George he be in private hosp toute suite!!

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