Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and gastrointestinal morbidity in a large cohort of young adults

Sivan Kedem, Shlomit Yust-Katz, Dan Carter, Zohar Levi, Ron Kedem, Adi Dickstein, Salah Daher, Lior H. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND Although the association of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with psychiatric disorders is well known, its association with somatic diseases is unclear. Only few studies have investigated the gastrointestinal (GI) morbidity in adult patients with ADHD. AIM To measure gastrointestinal comorbidity and its burden on healthcare in young adults with ADHD. METHODS The cohort included subjects aged 17-35 years recruited to the Israel Defense Forces in 2007-2013, 33380 with ADHD and 355652 without (controls). The groups were compared for functional and inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and clinic and specialist visits for gastrointestinal symptoms/disease during service (to 2016). Findings were analyzed by generalized linear models adjusted for background variables. RESULTS Compared to controls, the ADHD group had more diagnoses of functional gastrointestinal disorders (referred to as FGID), namely, dyspepsia [odds ratio (OR): 1.48, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.40-1.57, P < 0.001], chronic constipation (OR: 1.64, 95%CI: 1.48-1.81, P < 0.001), and irritable bowel syndrome (OR: 1.67, 95%CI: 1.56-1.80, P < 0.001) but not of organic disorders (inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease). They had more frequent primary care visits for gastrointestinal symptoms [rate ratio (RR): 1.25, 95%CI: 1.24-1.26, P < 0.001] and referrals to gastrointestinal specialists (RR: 1.96, 95%CI: 1.88-2.03, P < 0.001) and more episodes of recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms (RR: 1.29, 95%CI: 1.21-1.38, P < 0.001). Methylphenidate use increased the risk of dyspepsia (OR: 1.49, 95%CI: 1.28-1.73, P < 0.001) and constipation (OR: 1.42, 95%CI: 1.09-1.84, P = 0.009). CONCLUSION ADHD in young adults is associated with an excess of FGID and increased use of related health services. Research is needed to determine if an integrative approach treating both conditions will benefit these patients and cut costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6626-6637
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number42
StatePublished - 14 Nov 2020


  • Adolescents
  • Constipation
  • Dyspepsia
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome


Dive into the research topics of 'Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and gastrointestinal morbidity in a large cohort of young adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this