Children with autism are six to eight times more likely to suffer gastrointestinal upsets than children who are developing typically, say researchers from the University of California-Davis’ MIND Institute.
And they say gastrointestinal (GI) upsets, including constipation, diarrhoea and food sensitivity, are themselves related to behavioural problems, such as irritability, repetitive behaviour and social withdrawal.
Virginia Chaldez, lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, says:
“Parents of children with autism have long said that their kids endure more GI(stomach) problems, but little has been known about the true prevalence of these complications or their underlying causes.”
Tummy ache and bad behavior; Autism is characterized by social withdrawal and a reluctance to engage with people. Researchers are now linking symptoms to GI symptoms, including tummy upsets.
The research is the largest and most ethnically diverse study comparing tummy troubles in autistic children with developmental delay and typical development. It is also the first to explore the relationship between stomach upsets and problem behaviours.
But at the moment, the researchers are not sure which is the chicken and which the egg. As Chaldez explains:
“The GI problems, they experience may be bidirectional. GI problems may create behaviour problems, and those behaviour problems may create or exacerbate GI problems. One way to try to tease this out would be to begin investigating the effects of various treatments and their effects on both GI symptoms and problem behaviours.”
Source: Medical News Today