How to manage irritable bowel syndrome in children

Elvira Ingrid Levy, Charlotte De Geyter, Abdelhalim Ouald Chaib, Berthold Albert Aman, Badriul Hegar, Yvan Vandenplas

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific reviewpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: This paper discusses the risk factors and management of paediatric irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with a focus on the role of the gastrointestinal microbiome.

METHODS: English articles of interest published in PubMed and Google Scholar were searched using subject heading and keywords of interest.

RESULTS: Only few randomised controlled trials on the management of IBS in children have been published. The vast majority of these intervention trials target to change the composition of the gastrointestinal microbiome. Most studies are underpowered. Major heterogeneities in study designs such as differences in inclusion criteria, including patients with different pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders and differences in primary outcomes, make it impossible to formulate recommendations. Overall, few adverse events are reported what could indicate safety or point to suboptimal conduction of clinical trials and safety reporting. However, it can also not be excluded that some interventions such as the administration of selected probiotic products may result in benefit.

CONCLUSION: There is insufficient evidence to recommend any therapeutic intervention in paediatric IBS, including manipulation of the gastrointestinal tract microbiome, despite the evidence that dysbiosis seems an associated pathophysiologic factor. More designed prospective trials are needed since IBS is not a rare condition during childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number1
Early online date15 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • FODMAP diet
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • microbiota
  • prebiotic
  • probiotic
  • recurrent abdominal pain
  • synbiotic


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