A recent study (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014; 12: 1468-73) examined irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) subtypes among 129 subjects ages 7 to 18 who met Pediatric Rome III IBS criteria. These children were part of larger studies of functional gastrointestinal disorders and recruited from primary and tertiary care centers. Participants completed pain and stool diaries.
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C) was the most common subtype (58.1%); in the other categories IBS unsubtyped (IBS-U) was next at 34.1%, then IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) at 5.4%, and least common was mixed IBS (IBS-M) at 2.3%
The authors note that in adults with IBS studies tend to yield a more even distribution among the subtypes IBS-C, IBS-D, and IBS-U along with smaller numbers in IBS-M.
Take-home message: IBS with constipation is common in pediatrics. Among patients who have been labelled as having isolated constipation, many in fact have IBS-C and may have persistent gastrointestinal symptoms despite the use of laxatives.
Related blog post: