Selected Podcast

Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Your Child: Is Stress to Blame?

If your child is suffering from chronic stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and bloating, it may cause constant concern and angst for your whole family.

It's very important to rule out every possible reason why your child is having gastrointestinal distress. Did something happen at school that day? Is it something your child is eating? Could it just be the flu?

If your child is having these symptoms more than three times a week, especially over long periods of time, you should contact your pediatrician or physician.

Blood work can be done to eliminate the possibility of a food allergy or a gastrointestinal disease. If blood work and other testing comes back negative, it could be Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS).

IBS is a disorder that is commonly characterized by discomfort, bloating, altered bowel movement (recurrent diarrhea, constipation or both) and abdominal bloating. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, IBS affects between 25 and 45 million adults, young adults and children in the United States.

Among the gastrointestinal symptoms, there might be other emotional, physical and mental symptoms that arise. These symptoms include signs of depression, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, or insomnia.

What role does stress play in children developing symptoms of IBS?

Stress isn't the direct cause, but it still plays a major role. Stress triggers your nervous system to react with a flight, fight or freeze response.

When stressed, many children go into the freeze response, trapping the stress in the body so there is nowhere for it to go. When the stress is trapped, it can cause your child to skip meals or possibly overeat at meals.

Is there a way to help your child relieve stress and get rid of IBS altogether?

Dr. Michael Lawson and Dr. Jessica Del Pozo join Dr. Mike to discuss the symptoms of IBS, the connection between stress and IBS and how to help your child overcome both.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Your Child: Is Stress to Blame?
Featured Speaker:
Michael LawsonMichael Lawson, MD, is a board certified gastroenterologist with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

He is a Clinical Professor with University of California, Davis, and volunteers in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Cambodia.

Dr. Lawson's research has been supported by the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. He has treated adults with IBS since 1982.

Dr. Lawson was voted a Best Doctor by Sacramento Magazine in 2007.

Jessica Del PozoJessica Del Pozo, PhD, is a clinical psychologist for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

She helps people manage chronic medical conditions and is part of a comprehensive chronic pain management team.

Dr. Del Pozo also does consulting, leads workshops, and teaches continuing medical education courses.

She has been treating adults with IBS for over 15 years.