Dr Mike Thomson, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Interventional Endoscopist
Q. I think my child might have IBS. What should I do and how can I help?
A. Irritable bowel syndrome is a diagnosis made in adults and older children. If your child is under the age of 10-12 years then there is something else happening. If this is the case and your child has diarrhoea or constipation or abdominal pain then you would need to see a doctor, and if there are any warning signs such as blood in the bowel motions, slightly mucousy bowel motions, or explosive bowel motions with lots of gas then your doctor would probably involve a Specialist for further investigations. Under the age of 10-12 years diagnoses such as Coeliac disease – which is an intolerance to gluten, inflammatory bowel disease, allergic gut disease to various food stuffs, and intolerances to various foods due to enzyme deficiencies like lactose intolerance can occur. A number of blood tests, or stools tests (especially if you’ve been abroad) would be appropriate in that situation. Sometimes the specialist would then organise an endoscopy, which is a camera test under a short light anaesthetic, to look at the lining of the bowel, sometimes by mouth and sometimes from the bottom end. A diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome in young infants and toddlers is not really one that is made and we would term diarrhoea in this age group, under the age of 5 years, Toddler’s diarrhoea, if all other serious things were excluded and if growth was normal. Over the age of 10-12 years, again the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is one of exclusion, ie when all other serious pathologies have been excluded. In this context treatment with the same manoeuvres as adult irritable bowel syndrome is appropriate, with things like Colpermin and anti-spasmodic medications, as well as identifying whether any food or foods are worsening the situation. Further details can be found at www.paediatricgastroenterologist.com
For further information or to book an appointment please contact Dr Thomson’s secretary.
Telephone: 020 7390 8315
Fax: 020 7390 6505