A new study discovers individuals who were physically abused as children are more than twice as likely to develop ulcers in adulthood.
“We found a strong and significant association between individuals who were abused during childhood and those were diagnosed with peptic ulcers later in life,” said lead authors Drs. Esme Fuller Thomson and Sandra Rotman of the University of Toronto.
Researchers used data from a representative community sample of 13,069 adult Canadians to track the link between child abuse and ulcers forming in adulthood.
More than 1,000 reported being physically abused by someone close to them before they turned 18, and 493 said they had been diagnosed with peptic ulcers by a health professional.
“I originally thought the link would be explained by factors such as stress, obesity, smoking or alcohol abuse — characteristics that are highly associated with peptic ulcers.”
“But even after adjusting for sixteen known variables, those who had been physically abused in childhood had 68 percent higher odds of peptic ulcers than their non-abused peers.”
Co-author Jennifer Bottoms underscored the dual relevance of the research.
“These findings not only underline the importance of preventing childhood physical abuse,” said Bottoms, “they also highlight the need to screen adults who have experienced childhood abuse as they are at risk for negative health outcomes.”
Thomson’s study appears online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Source: University of Toronto