Gastrointestinal Symptoms More Common in Autism

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Children aged 6 months to 3 years who have autism are more likely to have gastrointestinal symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, and food allergies, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The retrospective study included over 41,000 children over a 10-year period, following each child from 6 through 36 months of age. This included 195 children with autism spectrum disorder, 4,636 with developmental delays, and 40,295 with typical development.

For children in the 6 to 18 month range, those with autism were 2.7 times more likely to have reported constipation and 1.7 times more likely to have food allergy/intolerance compared with typically-developing children. Children with autism spectrum disorder were also 1.2 times more likely to report diarrhea.

For children in the 18 to 36 month range, those with autism were 2.3 times more likely to report diarrhea and 2.0 times more likely to report food allergy/intolerance compared with typically-developing children. Children with autism spectrum disorder were also 1.6 times more likely to report constipation.

Overall, children with autism spectrum disorder were 1.4 times and 2.1 times more likely to report gastrointestinal symptoms at ages 6-18 months and 18-36 months, respectively.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are common among all young children, but these results indicate that addressing these issues in children with autism spectrum disorder is particularly important. Proper treatment of these symptoms can help improve the well-being of these children and may alleviate difficult behaviors.

Child
Gastrointestinal Symptoms More Common in Autism

Mothers of infants aged up to 3 years who have autism are more likely to report the children have gastrointestinal symptoms of constipation, diarrhea and food allergy or intolerance, finds a study collecting 10 years of prospective data.

The forward-looking study - that is, one designed in advance to test associations, as opposed to a retrospective study that would look back over data for links - is published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms reported by mothers were more common and more frequently persistent in the babies and small children with autism spectrum disorder than either in those with "typical" development for the age group, or in those with developmental delay.

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