Characterization and Management of Voiding Dysfunction in Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Jonathan D. Kaye
    Division of Urology, Schneider Children's Hospital of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Long Island, New York
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  • Lane S. Palmer
    Reprint requests: Lane S. Palmer, M.D., Division of Urology, Schneider Children's Hospital of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, 1999 Marcus Avenue, M18, Lake Success, NY 11042
    Division of Urology, Schneider Children's Hospital of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Long Island, New York
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      To investigate whether voiding dysfunction (VD) in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be treated successfully using individualized therapy. We also sought to describe the spectrum of voiding symptoms experienced by children with ADHD. ADHD is diagnosed in 3-5% of children. These children have a greater incidence of VD than non-ADHD controls, and it is less amenable to treatment.


      A comprehensive history assessed the nature of the voiding disorder. A physical examination, screening urologic ultrasonography, and urinalysis were routinely performed, with electromyography combined with uroflowmetry performed for certain cases. Treatment was individualized to include behavioral modification, bowel and diet management, biofeedback, pharmacotherapy, and close follow-up.


      A total of 75 children with ADHD were referred because of VD. The 75 children (39 boys and 36 girls) were 5-16 years old. Of the 75 children, 60 were taking medication for ADHD. All the children had daytime wetting (>1/d, 5-7 d/wk) and urgency. In addition, 88% had frequency and 87% had sleep enuresis. Of the 75 families, 56 proceeded with our prescribed program. Of the 56 children, 47 (83.9%) had complete resolution or improvement of the daytime symptoms. Of the 17 patients (30.4%) with complete resolution, 9 responded to behavior modification and anticholinergics and 8 needed biofeedback. Of the 30 patients with a partial response (53.6%), 9 responded to behavior modification alone, 15 to behavior modification and anticholinergics, and 6 required all 3 modalities. Of the 56 children, 9 failed to respond to any of the 3 modalities.


      Diurnal symptoms constituted the most common referred complaint in children with ADHD. VD can be successfully treated if the treatment is individualized. Multimodal treatment, including behavior modification combined with anticholinergic agents and/or biofeedback, appears to be effective in managing VD in most of these challenging cases.
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