When children have disorders like attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) there are often a variety of conditions that are co-occurring. Researchers at the University of California Irvine College of Medicine conducted a study to determine if there was any link between urinary and bowel problems and ADHD. They surveyed a group of children with ADHD and found that pre-adolescents with ADHD were three times more likely to suffer from bedwetting, incontinence, and related issues than their non-ADHD peers.

The research team, led by Dr. Barry Duel, assistant professor of urology and a specialist in childhood urological diseases at UCI Medical Center’s University Children’s Hospital, surveyed 51 children with an average age of 10; 28 had ADHD and 23 did not. The children were asked nine questions about problems they had encountered with incontinence, bedwetting, improper bowel control, and urinary tract infections. The children with ADHD were two to three times more likely than the non-ADHD children to have had experience with these sensitive problems.

The results suggest than around 30% of children with ADHD suffer from bedwetting, incontinence, and similar problems. It is the first study to link these issues to ADHD.

Dr. Duel and his team also tested a computerized biofeedback system that significantly reduced bedwetting in children without ADHD. The system decreased incontinence and urinary tract infections in a group of children from 100 percent of participants to 40 percent. Although this system was not tested on children with ADHD, it could offer a treatment option for children with ADHD who are affected by such problems.

“Health care workers always have suspected that children with ADHD might have higher rates of bedwetting, constipation and similar problems, but no study ever specifically addressed the question. This study will help caregivers identify these problems and find ways to correct them. We believe that these corrective steps also will help children with ADHD better adjust to already difficult social challenges,” concluded Duel.

This research will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For examples of how iLs works with ADHD, please visit our case studies page.

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