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IBS in teenagers

(18 Posts)
DoItPronto Mon 13-Jul-15 12:46:37

My DS, nearly 14 year old, has been recently diagnosed with IBS. He has been complaining about stomach cramps for some time but recently it manifested in a major flare-up and he was put on Biscopan and prescribed some tests.

We read on the subject and are trying to follow FODMAP diet, have a food diary and avoid the foods that make it worse. It all relatively new to us and we are trying not to panic. Especially after reading how debilitating it can be in the long term.

The trouble is, he seems to be fine at weekends and on days out but it gets worse every morning that he needs to go to school. To the point when he is missing 3-4 days every week.

This weekend we went to a weekend away birthday party and he was find and did not show any obvious signs of IBS, he was eating all the party foods, playing with a younger guest and we also went for long drives and walks. I kept asking if he was OK and only once he said that although he has �a bit of stomach cramp, he is OK with it�.

But this morning (Monday) he was again doubled up in pain and not going to school!

I am really in two minds about it. It just might be that he has something going on at school that he is trying to avoid. But last Friday he went to a day school trip and was fine. They are not doing any tests anymore, as it is the end of year.

But I am getting suspicious that something is not adding up. At the same time all that I read on IBS points out how random and sudden these flare-ups can be.

I have requested a meeting at school to get to the bottom of it, but can he be simulating the symptoms so convincingly??

any advice / thoughts would be very much appreciated.....

princessvikki Mon 13-Jul-15 13:56:10

My sister (20) has ibs and hers flares up more to do with stress, she is quite an anxious person. It's was always bad on a Sunday night/Monday morning before school, particularly after a holiday. If there's something she has to do that she doesn't want to it always flares up. But she can got out with friends to eat and drinks alcohol fine because it's something she enjoys. In the end my mum was sending her to school in pain or not because she was missing to much time and facing the stress in time helped make her less anxious and it flared up less.

bigTillyMint Mon 13-Jul-15 13:57:51

I don't know anything about IBS, but as the holidays are coming up, could you keep a diary on how he is over the holidays so that you can see if it's school-related or just random attacks?

DoItPronto Mon 13-Jul-15 17:41:07

Thank you princessvikki, that looks possible. He always been quite a laid back and positive boy but disorganised and the school was quite hard on him for tardiness and forgetting his hw. I will bear it in mind.

DoItPronto Mon 13-Jul-15 17:42:13

Thank you bigTillyMint, I will definitely try this.

Trazzletoes Mon 13-Jul-15 17:47:02

I've always had IBS. Mine is stress-related. I used to get an attack every day I had a swimming lesson. Once mum pulled me out of swimming I was fine on those days. But I was generally ok on the other days. I would not disbelieve your DS.

Spanielcrackers Mon 13-Jul-15 17:56:07

My son has IBS-D. He has had it since he was 15. We tried the low FODMAP diet while under the care of his consultant and dietitian. Onions and garlic proved to be huge triggers for him.
He was then referred to Professor Whorwell who told him to go on a white diet - white bread, white rice, white pasta, potatoes (no skins), carrots, any meat or fish, no pulses, no salad, no fruit apart from banana. He is much better with this diet.
My son finds that his symptoms are worse shortly after getting up in the morning. As his digestive system wakes up, so do his cramps. He takes buscopan.
Stress also triggers his symptoms.

BlisterFace Mon 13-Jul-15 18:00:50

Agree with the above posters that it sounds very much stress-related.

Has the GP tested for other causes? The reason I ask is because IBS should be a "last resort" diagnosis and made only when everything else has been ruled out. (My DSis developed Chrohn's in her late teens and my DM was convinced she was making it up!) V unlikely to be anything serious at his age though probably best to make sure other causes have been ruled out.

DoItPronto Tue 14-Jul-15 16:23:11

Thank you all for your input! Since my post I definitely convinced his suffering is genuine. We are waiting for tests results and will investigate further. Also going to school today to work out some solution regarding his school attendance next year. It looks like it will be part if our lives.... We will work it out of course but so sad for my carefree boy...

DoItPronto Wed 15-Jul-15 13:46:17

My main problem now is how to get him to school. He missed about 2 weeks of it now. We discussed it with school and they offered to accommodate as much as they can - he can study in a separate room if needed, have access to the loo whenever etc. but he just cannot leave the house in the morning! He went as far as the bus stop today but had to return. I offered to drive him, but sometimes he is not ready and then I have to go to work myself. And he still needs to go back after school when we are at work. I am at my wits end on what to do! Shall I start planning home study for him? But the school would need to refer him. How soon the home study be arranged should we need it? Argh! It just happened so sudden! ((

Spanielcrackers Wed 15-Jul-15 14:16:42

I hope the link works. It is an article by Professor Whorwell on managing IBS.
I was in the fortunate position that school was a five minute drive away and I work from home, so I was able to drive my son to and from school.

However, he has had to temporarily drop out of university because he had a seven month flare of IBS.

One of my son's symptoms is severe chronic fatigue. Walking from his bedroom to the kitchen can leave him exhausted.

It is now four years on from diagnosis (he had numerous blood tests, biopsies, colonoscopy and endoscopy), and we are still struggling to manage his flare ups.

bigTillyMint Wed 15-Jul-15 14:33:30

Oh gosh, I had N9 idea how debilitating it could be. flowers

DoItPronto Wed 15-Jul-15 16:43:31

Thank you spanielcrackets, the link works. When it is so sudden, it just knocks you for six! Did it affect your son's confidence?

Spanielcrackers Wed 15-Jul-15 17:14:36

Sent you a private message.

Spanielcrackers Thu 16-Jul-15 17:07:50

Doitpronto, your son could try taking Symprove. It is a probiotic drink which has proved effective for many IBS sufferers. You can buy it from Amazon.

The Low FODMAP Diet Cookbook by Dr Sue Shepherd has some fabulous recipes in it. As a family we were all happy to join my son on his low FODMAP diet after buying this book.

Be careful with some brands of gluten free bread because they can contain high FODMAP sugars.

We found the Freefrom frozen section in Tesco quite good for low FODMAP food.

Good luck.

Eternalsunshines Thu 16-Jul-15 17:11:48

If I had the ibs I have now I would HATE to be at school. It can definitely be triggered by anxiety, in fact that's how mine started.

I'm on loperamide long term now, it's the only thing that helps.

jorahmormont Thu 16-Jul-15 17:19:17

I have IBS as part of ehlers danlos and it started when I was 14. It was triggered massively by stress but also by school. I couldn't sit in a classroom for more than half an hour without horrific attacks.

I avoided school because the constipation caused horrendous wind and my stomach would make unholy noises, which was hugely embarrassing, so I'd avoid school. The school wouldn't believe me and wouldn't do anything about it, and with exams approaching I was dreading the thought of sitting in a silent room for hours.

In the end I had to go down the route of saying it was anxiety, to get to sit in a room on my own to do the exam with as many toilet breaks as I needed. It was the only way the school would do it as they didn't consider a diagnosis of IBS enough to warrant it.

It was an awful time but I came through it and the IBS is now under control with a low gluten diet, Buscopan, occasional laxatives when needed and listening to my body. If it's a bad day I call in sick. Make sure the school never prevent him from going to the toilet. Cramps from holding it in due to the school not letting me use the toilet ended up with them sending me home once or twice.

I wouldn't think he's putting it on. IBS is a really debilitating condition to have as a teenager.

3mum Thu 16-Jul-15 19:32:12

I have had life-long IBS (I can remember having an episode aged 4). Stress, sugar and wheat are all triggers. Buscopan didn't do a lot for me, nor did other anti-spasmodics but Imodium works well to calm my gut down. It's cheap and I always carry it.

It was bad when I was a teenager but settled down when I went to uni and now it is just an occasional thing. Its a mild annoyance but no worse than that. TBH I don't massively restrict my diet, just lay off the sugar and wheat if I have a flare up.

Hopefully your DS IBS will settle down in the same way.

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