View Full Version : ADHD and Constipation

06-14-08, 10:02 AM
Hi Im new on this forum.
This is a strange topic but Im very interested.
Does anyone suffer from constipation?
I have read that many people that have Aspergers and autism suffer from constipation. I have constipation problems and have been diagnosed with ADHD. Do many ADHD sufferers also have constipation problems?

06-14-08, 10:16 AM
Welcome to the Forum!

I really don't know, but my gut tells me that ADHD has no direct effect on digestion or gastro-intestinal such and such.

Theta should be around shortly to give you specifics! :D

Perhaps anxiety as a result of the ADHD or co-existing condition could cause problems.

I know, I'm not a lot of help.

Just re-read my first line up there!

06-14-08, 10:22 AM
thanks, No problem.
I think I may have slight autistic tendencies. Im not sure why alot of autistic people suffer from constipation. Are ADHD and autism (HFA/Aspergers) related in anyway?
I don`t know how a neurological condition can bring about constipation. ( (
this may explain it??

06-14-08, 10:52 AM
I'm interested in the possible link between potassium deficiency and adhd. Low potassium might cause chronic constipation, I think. I had part of my colon removed at 36 because chronic constipation had caused diverticulitis and repeated infections. That is an old person's problem.

I eat a lot of fiber and not much processed food, so I've spent a lot of time tring to figure out this chronic constipation.

So subscribing to see what you find out!

06-14-08, 10:57 AM
I have found that stimulant meds cause the opposite problem. LOL

06-14-08, 11:01 AM
I find after eating carbohydrates I have more problems with the constipation. Could that be a food allergy?
Maybe its the increased fibre that is somehow causing a problem for you?
Would all stimulant work in the same way? Eg caffeine?
How is all this connected to a neruological disorder such as autism?

06-14-08, 11:10 AM
How is all this connected to a neruological disorder such as autism?if autism has a nutritional componant, as some theorize, like salycilate sensitivity or potassium deficiency, it would follow that there would be physiological symptoms, kwim?

06-15-08, 01:03 PM
Im off to the doctors today. Ive had constipation for the past week. Its getting unbearable. Stomach pains, patches of hyperactivity and then lethargic, zoning out..I had no sleep last night...
Im going to get some tests done to see if Im allergic to anything..Im very suspicious of gluten/wheat.

06-15-08, 02:02 PM
I've done some reading up and talking with others about this; seems there is a connection of GI troubles with ASDs. There are some clinics spurting up that are treating the GI troubles of ASD through gluten and dairy free (and etc) diets, and they claim relief of some of the cognitive issues as well. Gluten, dairy, corn, high-fructose corn syrup, are a few of the most common irritants removed from the diet with great results for some. Gluten does tend to constipate for those sensitive to it. I have a LOT of serious GI issues within my family, even my son, and we do have proven dairy and gluten sensitivities/allergies. I have been gluten free now for about a month or so, and have found that it does move things along much better. I'm also eating better and making better choices - leaving the sugar and fat-loaded food with wheat in them.

A gluten problem is hard to diagnose though, the most reliable is an upper GI biopsy while you are actively consuming gluten (so that the GI tract is in its height of any reactivity). Some times the only way to know is just to try a GF diet. It's not terribly hard, just remembering is! :-)

There are a few really good past threads here on this subject a search in the search bar for "gluten" and "celiac" which will get you some great info from other members here on wheat/gluten issues.

I feel for you.

06-15-08, 11:00 PM
Not noticed constipation since I was a pre-teen. But I take 6 grams of fish oil daily and it seems to have anti-constipation efficacy. My nephew had a bad reaction of diarrhea from fish oil. Anyway a moderate amount might be useful.

One theory on the whole casein free/gluten (CFGF) free diet is incomplete
digested protein fragments with a similar structure to opiates are produced. Supposably effecting the mind. That seems bogus to me because those peptides likely could not cross the blood brain barrier. But they might effect receptors in the GI track. And opiates do cause constipation.

06-16-08, 12:05 AM
I've been reading some articles about glutens affects on the mind and constipation..

I had increased my bread and pasta intake to help with sports training. My symptoms became worse, with more bloating, stomach aches, tiredness, zoning out, weight gain (even with all my training??), lack of concentration, insomnia...

I usually have adhd-like symptoms, forgetfulness, concentration problems..
Constipation is something ive lived with in the past, but nothing like this...
All have been alot worse since the increase of wheat and carbs in my diet.
Maybe it's just an allergy and not ADHD in my own condition?
Celiac disease and allergies to gluten/wheat are usually heriditary diseases. My nana is gluten/wheat intolerant...

I dont know if this is substantial evidence for anything. I do find it weird that many Autistic people and some ADHDers suffer from chronic constipation and/or diaoreha. Why?

06-17-08, 12:56 AM
I had a consulation with a nutritionist/naturopath. She said it was very highly likely that I have an intolerance to dairy products and wheat/gluten. I didnt get a full conclusive test done as it would set me back $200. But she asked questions about my symptoms and family history. Apparently alot of ADHD and autistic people come through her clinic. After changing their diets most experienced major improvements. It's enough to convince me to change my diet. Hopefully I will start seeing some results :)

"Gluten, dairy, corn, high-fructose corn syrup, are a few of the most common irritants removed from the diet with great results for some."

Thanks Frazledazzle...will also try to elimiate corn and corn syrup.

06-17-08, 01:12 AM
"Gluten, dairy, corn, high-fructose corn syrup, are a few of the most common irritants removed from the diet with great results for some."

Thanks Frazledazzle...will also try to elimiate corn and corn syrup.

Table sugar is a disaccharide of fructose and glucose. And is converted to fructose and glucose in the body. Which means there just is not a big difference in it and high-fructose corn syrup(HFCS). Other than
HFCS has a bad taste. Fructose alone can cause intolerance to people since its not as easily as digested. Some health nuts recommend a sweetener that is mostly glucose.

Its important to note that most gastroenterologist would likely laugh at the
entire autism/ADHD CFGF suggestion.

06-17-08, 01:32 AM
Each case is completely different. Some are genuine cases of autism and ADHD, actual neurological conditions. While other cases are results from possible food allergies and sensitivies, past ear infections and other conditions that may share or mask some of the symptoms of ADHD/Autism.
There are definitely cases of severe autism from birth that are impossible to cure or even improve marginally. But if symptoms seem to have developed over time and symptoms are provoked by certain foods..then there is a likelihood it is a food allergy. There are allergies to almost everything these days so it wouldn't surprise me if some are strongly affected by just plain table sugar or certain fruits or vegetables.
Do they usually give food allergy tests before diagnosing people with mental disorders? Maybe alot of cases of food allergies or sensitivities are diagnosed as mental disorders. I am not denying that there are plenty of genuine cases of ADHD and autism. Just looking at my own symptoms, I'm realising that alot are aggravated by certain foods I eat.

I've just begun to realise how some of the physical/health problems I've had tie in with a possible food allergy. Such as constipation from a young age, ear infections, stomach aches, bloating after eating, mood changes directly after meal times, going red in the face and heating up after eating. I'd previously overlooked the possible connections they may have with food allergy/sensitivity and adhd-like symptoms.

06-17-08, 03:40 AM
I tend to believe one particularly study's conclusion on CFGF diet and autism. Which was statistically it was no better than placebo but that some people in the study did in fact respond favorable to the CFGF diet. No question some people on the autism spectrum thinks it helps them(and it may). But It want be hard to find a much larger number of people who think its not helpful.

Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. (

Research has shown of high rates of use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) for children with autism including gluten and/or casein exclusion diets. Current evidence for efficacy of these diets is poor. Large scale, good quality randomised controlled trials are needed.

Absence of urinary opioid peptides in children with Autism. (

It has been claimed for a number of years that the urine of children with autism contains exogenously derived opioid peptides

Given the lack of evidence for any opioid peptiduria in children with autism it can neither serve as a biomedical marker for autism, nor be employed to predict or monitor response to a casein and gluten exclusion diet.

Possible immunological disorders in autism: concomitant autoimmunity and immune tolerance. (

Circulating IgA and IgG autoantibodies to casein and gluten dietary proteins were detected by enzyme-immunoassays (EIA).

Thats likely the test the Nutrionist was recommending. According to this study it does show a high correlation or IgG autoantibodies to casien and gluten with autism.

Results revealed high seropositivity for autoantibodies to casein and gluten: 83.3% and 50% respectively in autistic children as compared to 10% and 6.7% positivity in the control group.

Diet and child behavior problems: fact or fiction? (

Dietary treatment of children with behavioral disorders has had wide public appeal and been a source of controversy since the 1920's. Yet, to date, there is little empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of dietary restrictions in treating child psychiatric disorders, in particular, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The gluten-free, casein-free diet in autism: results of a preliminary double blind clinical trial. (

Group data indicated no statistically significant findings even though several parents reported improvement in their children.

Thats the study I was referring to at the top of the page.

06-17-08, 03:56 AM
thanks that was very informative.
So basically, studies are not conclusive as of yet? Though some parents say that Gluten Free Lactose Free diets have helped their childs condition? Would that mean that those who have improved from a diet change may not of had autism but just an undiagnosed allergy?
There's not denying that food allergies do affect mood changes. Mood changes do affect behaviour changes. Think of the effects of anger, frustration, tiredness..
articles i found helpful.

There may be no scientific evidence from studies of improvements in behaviour but I've read many comments and articles from parents and nutritionists/doctors. Also in myself, I see improvements from a change of diet. Maybe they should do more studies about the effects of foods in behaviour.

ADHD, Autism and Food allergies are completely different conditions all togethor. But if some of the symptoms of ADHD and Autism mirror those displayed by allergy sufferers, then there is a possibility of misdiagnosis.

As I said earlier, maybe alot of people do not have true autism/adhd (though there is no denying that alot do!). Possibly those who's symptoms did dramatically improve after diet change, only suffered from food allergies/sensitivities.

06-17-08, 04:32 AM
Also in myself, I see improvements from a change of diet.

If something works you should stick with it. I have a theory on the real mechanism of dietary intervention in neurological conditions(or whatever the cause): One in the case of people on the autism spectrum particularly children they often eat very poor diets in general often consisting of a few unhealthy items. To avoid gluten and casein in a typical western diet undoubtedly means avoiding a lot of pre-processed junk food and buying specialty items from health food stores. So the net effect if you can convince the child to eat the CFGF stuff is your substituting a poor diet in general with a healthy one.

Personally I find avoiding salt and eating a lot of potassium rich food (or unfortunately taking potassium supplements since my diet is poor) helpful. I have a thread on it:

06-18-08, 09:59 PM

Constipation can be a symptom of hypothyroidism.

06-19-08, 01:42 AM
It could be. Not in my case though, I don't have the symptoms.
The nutritionist/naturopath advised me to see the doctor for a full blood test and allergy test. I went today for a doctors appointment. Apparently a bowel movement every 7-9 days isnt I've had that for years.. My record is around 2 and a half weeks. All the different treatments, MicroLax, Metamucil, suppositaries, Ive tried them all in the past, and they havent worked long term. So I have the actual blood tests and allergy tests in 10 days. I have to go back on the full wheat, gluten and lactose diet. Otherwise the results might be not show up properly. If no results show up, I'll have to have an x-ray taken of my bowel.. Being told all that cost me $60.. argh!

I'm a bit gutted about going back on the wheat, gluten, lactose diet because I was getting some good results. I had no stomach pains after eating, bloating went down, stable moods and less daydreaming.
I do eat a high fibre diet and drink lots of water and exercise alot.

It will be interesting to find out the results.

06-19-08, 03:25 AM
Checking your diet for possible allergens is a very good idea. Some things cause the body to go out of whack for some people, and it can manifest differently for each individual. Allergies are not all shown in hives and shortness of breath. My mother gets migraines whenever she eats kale, and although this is not a common allergen or reaction to one, her doctors have confirmed for years that there is a correlation for her. No kale for Mom! (Poor woman, she loves it, would eat it steamed like spinach and be overjoyed until her head started to pound.)

I have a younger brother with severe autism, and he was tested by a doctor with a alternative medicaine background for food allergies years ago, then placed on a 4 -day rotation diet to help eliminate the issues. We really were not sold on how well it was working to improve his mood and concentration until one day when I put one of his allergens (black pepper) into the dinner that night by accident. (Oops.) He had his first temper tantrum in 3 months.:eek: We simply could not keep the diet up with all the other issues in the house at the time (father with Alzheimer's, I was going to multiple appointments every week for scoliosis, and it did require a lot of time and money at the one natural food store a 45 minute drive away), but it was interesting to try.

Constipation actually can be a side effect of some ADHD meds; I Googled it and saw Adderall and Straterra can be "culprits". Adderall can be dehydrating, and dehydration can cause constipation. Also, for some people, cutting out coffee or caffeine can cause this issue. There was a note in one of the articles I skimmed that wondered if the reduced food intake could cause a reduction in movements. That makes sense, but lack of going is not the same as needing to go but being unable to. (Sorry, I am trying to be delicate here, but it is difficult! :o )

Also (and again trying to be delicate here), it can be difficult to tell with someone who is severely autistic and non-verbal if they are experiencing constipation. Some people with that disorder show extreme distress whenever they go to the bathroom, because the idea of something "leaving" their body is upsetting to them.

If your bodily functions are that far from the average, a series of tests will show if there is a physical problem causing the issue. That may not be that dire, and could be corrected with meds or a dietary change. I'm sure it is disappointing to go back on all the foods you are eliminating just when you are feeling better, but at least you will get a clear picture of the problem. Good luck!

06-27-08, 06:40 PM

Thats on autism spectrum and mitochondrial function but it mentions quickly that mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic constipation may have a correlation.

06-27-08, 11:48 PM
thanks for the article.

I don't think I exhibit the symptoms of Autism. I read that some of the symptoms of Autism and ADHD overlap. I identify more with the ADHD symptoms (combined type).

I go for blood tests and allergy tests on Tuesday. It will be interesting to find out the results.

06-28-08, 09:09 AM

The autism part of the artical was not the point. There are hundreds of possible mitochondrial disorders(some autism maybe caused by some of them).

05-27-11, 05:28 AM
Yes I was suffered from constipation and ultimately it leads to
piles so after doing lot many Allopathic and Ayurvedic medication.
I went for homoepathy and got complete relief.

Smith Alan :)

01-06-12, 03:07 PM
I was not aware ever before the relation between ADHD and Constipation.
Cool data I got very thankful to the thread creator.