Apart from raising the threat of cancer and heart disease, physical abuse in childhood also seems to pave way for peptic ulcers. A recent study triggered by the University of Toronto claims that victims of childhood physical abuse are more than twice likely to develop ulcers than people who were not abused as children. The study findings highlight the importance of preventing childhood physical abuse and simultaneously shed light on the need to screen adults who have experienced childhood abuse as they are at risk for negative health outcomes.
As a part of the investigation, data from a representative community sample of 13,069 adult Canadians was thoroughly scrutinized. Approximately 1000 cases of physical abuse prior to the age of 18 by someone close to them were registered. Among them 493 participants had been possibly suffering from peptic ulcers. On completion of the study, a strong and significant link between childhood physical abuse and peptic ulcers later in life was reported.
Previously it was believed that peptic ulcers are a result of stress, obesity, smoking or alcohol abuse. However, after adjusting for sixteen known variables, individuals with a past of physical abuse apparently had 68 percent higher chances of developing peptic ulcers than their non-abused peers. In conclusion, lead author Esme Fuller Thomson, Professor and Sandra Rotman Chair at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and colleagues correlated childhood physical abuse with increased risk for being diagnosed with peptic ulcers.
The study is published online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.