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ACG: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Onset Studied in Children

Study shows how onset may depend on child gender, family size and maternal IBS status

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Child gender, family size and maternal irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) status may influence the development of IBS symptoms in children, according to research presented this week at the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas.

Shelby Langer, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined survey data from 450 mothers -- 46 percent of whom had IBS -- who completed the Children's Somatization Inventory on their 631 children. Mothers were asked to rate their children's abdominal pain for two weeks using a five-point scale ranging from "no pain" to "a whole lot of pain."

Compared to mothers without IBS, the researchers found that mothers with IBS reported greater abdominal pain severity in their children, especially for daughters who had either no siblings or one sibling. They found a reversal of this pattern in non-IBS mothers, who reported greater pain severity for daughters who had two or more siblings.

"The acquisition of illness behavior by daughters of women with IBS may be intensified in smaller families, where presumably these children have more one-on-one time to learn either through observation or other mechanisms," Langer said in a statement. "Future research is needed to explore the mechanisms by which family size, child gender and maternal IBS cases interact."

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