Digestive Illness of Children


Digestion is the most significant process for absorption of nutrients in the body. When there is an obstruction detected while in the process of digestion of food, those are considered as digestive illness. There is a long list of illness which includes Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Celiac Disease, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Hemorrhoids, Gallstones, Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD). Every disorder with their Nutrition management will be explained separately in next articles.

What is IBS?

Categorized under functional gastrointestinal disorder, IBS is more of a group of symptoms rather a disease. This affects the gastro intestinal tract and reflects into various annoying symptoms.

Symptoms:  the symptoms may be quite variable which includes Cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. Children with IBS also have found mucus in their stool.

Treatment: includes dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and the prescribed medication as per your treating physicians.

Dietary Modification:

  1. Role of Fibres

Dietary fibre modification (Soluble or insoluble fibre) is recommended as per the condition. Considering the types of fibre and amount of fibre in diet is significant in alteration of symptoms like constipation and diarrohea in IBS.

Soluble fibre as the name suggests, soluble in water though it is not digested. Sources include Oats, barley, peas, beans, carrot, citrus fruits like oranges, berries etc. Soluble fiber stays in the gut longer, which helps the colon function normally.

Insoluble fibre sources include whole grains, brown rice, rye, whole flax seeds, vegetables and corn.

Fibre Supplements

When fibres from food sources do not help much, supplements are suggested then to relieve from the annoying symptoms. Supplements include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil.

 2. Elimination Diet

 When the body is showing the symptoms like bloating, gas, pain and other symptoms of IBS, Elimination diet is suggested.


Symptoms  Eliminate food items Include food items
Diarrohea Lactose based food items, insoluble fibre, caffeine Eat all cooked and soft food items
Bloating, Gas Dairy products, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, Broccoli, Sprouts etc maintain an adequate calcium intake with fortified dairy alternatives such as almond, soy, or coconut milk
Constipation Dairy items, fried food, insoluble fibres Soluble fibres, fruits like -Apple,  prunes etc
  1. POOF- plenty of oral fluids

As you increase fiber in your diet, it is also important to drink more liquids. Drink water and decaffeinated beverages frequently.

  1. Role of Probiotics

Efficacy of probiotics has been worldwide well tested. Healthy gut bacteria present in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut etc., helps in healing of intestinal inflammation. Probiotics are also available in the supplement form.

Tips to cope up with IBS

  • Understand the type of Dietary Fibres and include in diet accordingly.
  • Eat smaller meals and keep up the fluid intake.
  • Eliminate oily, greasy and acid producing food products- avoid carbonated beverages, caffeinated drinks, high fat dairy items etc.
  • Fresh Aloe-vera gel is really beneficial.

What needs to limit or check over?

  • Mothers can make a note of the food items which triggers the symptoms.
  • Avoid old dairy products or prolonged refrigerated food items.
  • Check for acidic sausages preparation and deep fried food items.
  • Engage your children in regular exercise and outdoor activities.

Stay tuned to know all the digestive illness of children and the management of such diseases in my upcoming blogs.

A quick overview….

·       IBS is an annoying Bowel dysfunction.

·       There is no specific diet for IBS but it is important to identify foods that trigger the symptoms, make a record of them.

·       Fibre will be more of a mixed bag for IBS sufferer. Include soluble or insoluble fibre as per your certified Nutritionist advice.

·       Go easy with the dairy products.

·       Avoid Soda and acid producing food.