Nutritional and gastrointestinal disorders are often mysteries in the beginning.  Not a whodunit, but awfully close as doctors try to put the symptoms together and figure out the cause and then the best treatment plan.

What is irritable bowel syndrome?  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, also known as a spastic colon) is a frequent problem in adults, and a not infrequent one, in school children.  The widely accepted criteria established by a group of international physicians meeting together in Rome (and thus called the Rome criteria) helps to define the condition.

Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 days/month in the last 3 months with two or more of the following:

Shara Wagowski (formerly Greenspan), RD, CDN, CNSC, dietitian at the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children’s Health has kindly written an informative post on the FODMAP diet which has been widely used after initial research in Australia showed its usefulness in Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- Dr Stan

Other Nutrition4kids blogposts have reviewed some of the latest and most significant medical and nutritional research that moves our thinking forward and asks -- as well as answers -- new questions. What's the best way to exercise in order to lose weight?  How much Vitamin D does a baby need?  And if he's breastfed, how much can the mother provide?  And of course, the list goes on into every area of medicine and nutrition.

FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.  The theory is that many people with IBS have trouble absorbing these carbohydrates in their small intestines.  Large molecules of these foods end up in the colon where they ferment, which creates most of the common symptoms of IBS (bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea).

The standard formula for babies who aren't breastfed combines cow's milk proteins with vegetable fat, lactose, and all the known vitamins and minerals that are in breastmilk in order for the formula to mimic not only what's in breastmilk but also to come close to providing the growth and development that breastmilk creates. As a result, two fatty acids, DHA and ARA are added to mimic their stimulate development of the brain and eyes (These are discussed in detail in another blog post).

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), also known as a Spastic Colon, is common problem causing cramping pain, diarrhea or constipation, and often bloating as well.  Although it more common among adults (women 2 times as often as men), it is not uncommon in children as a cause of abdominal pain and school absences.