(HealthDay News) – Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are significantly more likely to have constipation and fecal incontinence issues than children without ADHD, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in Pediatrics.

Connor McKeown, MD, from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study using the military health system database to examine the correlation of ADHD with functional constipation and fecal incontinence. Data were included for 742,939 children (aged 4 to 12 years) of active-duty military personnel, from October 2005–September 2007.

The researchers found that 4.4% of the children had ADHD. There were significant increases in the prevalence of constipation (4.1% of children with ADHD vs. 1.5% without ADHD) and of fecal incontinence (0.9% and 0.15%, respectively) among children with ADHD. Compared to those without ADHD, children with ADHD had significantly more visits for both constipation and fecal incontinence (adjusted incidence rate ratios, 3.39 and 7.74, respectively). There were no significant differences in the rates of visits for constipation or fecal incontinence among children with ADHD receiving or not receiving medicinal therapy.

“Having a diagnosis of ADHD increases a child’s likelihood of having constipation and fecal incontinence,” the authors write. “Medical treatment of ADHD does not significantly increase or decrease visit rate for defecation disorders.”

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