By Fleur Michell

One in seven adult Australians suffer the ill effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and a growing number of children are also reporting symptoms.

Having IBS when you’re a kid can be tough, especially when other kids are feasting on a whole lot of stuff with seemingly no issues.

A study from the Journal of Paediatrics estimates that around six per cent of primary school students are sufferers, whilst 14 per cent of kids in high school – around one in seven – have symptoms pointing to IBS.

IBS is most often brought on by ingesting foods with high FODMAPs – the chemical name for certain carbohydrates and sugars some people find hard to digest.

Symptoms can be painful and embarrassing

Like for adults, IBS symptoms can be painful and also embarrassing for children and teens to talk about. These include abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, flatulence and altered bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation.

“Kids can often be less descriptive when it comes to saying what’s wrong and may not associate their pain with certain foods so IBS can sometimes be hard to detect,” explains dietitian Eloise Turner. “If you think your child may have IBS, it’s important to seek medical attention and to not self-diagnose as your child’s doctor will need to rule out any other possibilities or causes of the symptoms such as Coeliac Disease.

“If IBS is suspected, your child will likely be referred to a dietitian to identify their intolerances using the most appropriate approach for your child. If the low FODMAP diet is completed correctly, you should know what foods your child is intolerant to and what their tolerance level is.”

Fodbods Buddies

Eloise works with Fodbods – an Australian company which produces Australia’s only low-FODMAP certified protein snack bar. Recently the company launched their new snack bars for kids range – Fodbods Buddies which are also allergy free.

The 30g bars, available in two flavours – Lamington and Strawberry Shortcake – are made from 100 per cent natural plant-based ingredients. These include low FODMAP ingredients organic buckwheat, organic coconut, vegan chocolate, organic rice malt and dried strawberries which are gentle on tummies.

High Fodmap foods can cause irritation for kids

Fodbods creator and IBS sufferer Vanessa Hutchinson knows from personal experience that finding a healthy ready-to-eat snack that doesn’t cause gut irritation can be challenging. “Many ingredients in traditional ‘healthy snack bars’ such as wheat, dates, dairy, honey, sultanas and other fruits can cause unpleasant gut issues.”

A comprehensive list of high and low FODMAP foods is available at Monash University High and Low Fodmap Foods.

Other IBS signs to look out for in your child

Apart from the symptoms mentioned, it’s recommended to consult your doctor if your child’s bowel movements often occur infrequently or very frequently or vary between loose/watery stools and hard/lumpier stools.

Additional triggers

Whilst high FODMAP foods are often the culprit, it’s important to be aware of other triggers such as fatty foods, caffeine, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners and large meals.

Things you can do to help

“I would encourage your child to eat smaller meals more often during the day and keep a food and symptom diary which may help you better understand your child’s triggers,” says Eloise.

“Physical activity, adequate hydration and fibre is also vital to promote healthy bowel movements. Exercise can also be a great tool to relieve stress and anxiety triggers.

“Additionally, having your child talk to a therapist about their IBS may also help to reduce their symptoms. A therapist can explain how emotions may trigger their IBS symptoms and teach them relaxation techniques and management skills to avoid triggering IBS symptoms.”

To see Fodbods range of protein snack bars for adults and kids log onto www.fodbods.com

This article is shared and powered by mom.Connect

  • Thank you for sharing that. I wasn’t even thinking that kids can be affected by it.


  • I never thought that kids could get IBS. I’ll look out for this now with mine.


  • Thanks for sharing this very informative post. It is good to know there are some things out there to help our youngsters these days.


  • I have IBS and it’s bad enough as an adult to cope with and have spareclothes with me in case of accident which happened a lot and some times I could eat something next I’m running to the loo. I used to have a diary and wrote down everything I ate drank and I went and got tested what I was allergic to and found I can’t have cows milk so I buy Lactose free milk, so I would do that as that helps big time. Sometimes you get good days and bad so don’t believe everything doctors say as unless you suffer with it you don’t have a clue what it does to your health.


  • I always thought ibs was diarrhoea, I didn’t realise constipation is also a symptom, my toddler has chronic constipation so perhaps this is his issue. Something to look into as we know gluten doesn’t agree with him


  • It’s very hard, my child became extremely unwell with it.


  • Not something i ever even thought of! But definitely one i;ll keep an eye out on now


  • I have to admit I found this article to be very informing.


  • This is a really helpful article not only for children, but also adults. I have never heard of the Fodbods range before.
    C so that is one to keep an eye out for.


  • Oh my goodness, I can’t even imagine how this would feel like for a child.
    Thank you for the tips.


  • Oh must be so hard for little ones. This topic definitely needs to be talked about more


  • It’s so hard to get IBS under control and keep it controlled


  • It’s good that the issue is being talked about. Many people suffer in silence.


  • I suffer from IBS so I know what a innocent child would be going through.


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