Incontinence and headache in preschool children.Neurourol Urodyn. 2019 11; 38(8):2280-2287.NU
Headaches in preschool children are associated with behavioral and gastrointestinal symptoms. As the co-occurrence with incontinence is not known in young children, the aim of the study was to examine associations of headache, psychological symptoms and nocturnal enuresis (NE), daytime urinary incontinence (DUI), and fecal incontinence (FI) in a population-based sample of preschool children.
All preschool children of a defined geographical area were examined at school-entry. Parents completed a 22-item questionnaire, including 14 headache, 4 incontinence, and 25 items of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Five hundred eighty-five children (50.4% males) with a mean age of 5.8 years were included.
In total, 27.2% of all children had headaches. 15.7% had secondary and 11.3% primary headaches. Five children had migraine and five tension-type headaches, while all others were unclassifiable. 9.4% of children had incontinence (7.7% NE; 2.4% DUI, 1.2% FI) and 4.0% constipation. The rates of incontinence did not differ between children with primary and those without headache for NE (12.9% vs 7.5%), DUI (3.1% vs 2.7%) or FI (3.0% vs 1.0%), but for constipation (12.1% vs 2.6%). Incontinent children had significantly more behavioral and externalizing symptoms, children with headache more internalizing problems. Primary headache was a significant predictor for internalizing, while constipation and FI were predictors for externalizing symptoms.
This population-based study showed that headache is associated with constipation, but not with incontinence in preschool children. Headache and incontinence are common risk factors for specific psychological symptoms and should be assessed in clinical practice.