The link between ADHD and bowel problems in children

 While ADHD primarily affects a child’s cognitive and behavioural functions, research has shown that a potential connection between ADHD and bowel problems, such as chronic constipation, faecal incontinence, and bedwetting. In this article, we will explore this link and discuss ways to alleviate these symptoms in children with ADHD. 


1. Chronic Constipation: Children with ADHD often experience chronic constipation, which can lead to discomfort. The constipation may be related to neurological and physiological processes in the digestive system not working well. Chronic constipation can increase ADHD symptoms due to the discomfort that the child is feeling. 

2. Faecal incontinence: faecal incontinence can be a distressing problem for children with ADHD. This symptom may result from the inability to recognize and respond to the body’s signals due to ADHD-related impulsivity or inattention. Faecal incontinence can further impact a child’s self-esteem and social interactions. 

3. Bed Wetting: Bedwetting, often associated with ADHD, can be embarrassing and disruptive to a child’s life. It can be related to ADHD’s impact on a child’s ability to wake up in response to a full bladder. This issue can lead to added stress and negatively impact a child’s self-confidence. 


Ways to Treat or Alleviate the Symptoms of ADHD and bowel problems


Addressing the gastrointestinal symptoms in children with ADHD is important to improve their overall well-being. Here are some strategies: 

1. Consult a paediatrician: The first step should be to consult with a paediatrician. Medical professionals can provide guidance on suitable treatments or interventions. 

2. Dietary and Lifestyle Changes: Some dietary and lifestyle modifications can help alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms. Increasing fibre intake, ensuring proper hydration, and maintaining a regular meal schedule can positively impact constipation and incontinence. 

3. Behavioural Interventions: behavioural therapies, often used to manage ADHD, can be adapted to address gastrointestinal issues. 

4. Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage gastrointestinal symptoms. Laxatives, for instance, can help alleviate constipation, and bedwetting may be treated with medications such as desmopressin. 

5. Addressing ADHD: treating the underlying ADHD can improve gastrointestinal symptoms. Effective ADHD management through counselling, behavioural therapy, or medication can enhance a child’s ability to focus on their bowel and bladder functions. 


The connection between ADHD and bowel problems in children is a complex and emerging field of study. While more research is needed to fully understand this relationship, it is clear that these symptoms can significantly impact a child’s life. The good news is that there are strategies available to help alleviate these symptoms and improve a child’s overall quality of life. By consulting with medical professionals, making dietary and lifestyle changes, and addressing the underlying ADHD, parents and caregivers can offer vital support to children who are coping with these challenges. Consult your doctor to find out how you can help your child in dealing with their gastrointestinal problems.