According to research recently published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, people who suffer traumatic events early in life, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, are more likely to eventually be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The study was conducted at the David Geffen School of Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles.
One of the broadest studies of its kind
The study is one of the broadest of its kind, seeking to associate IBS with not only abuse events, but also a range of other traumatic occurrences in a person's life, and to control for gender differences.
The experimental sample included 294 patients with IBS, of which 79 percent were women, and 435 control cases, of which 77 percent were women.
The participants completed questionnaires assessing gastrointestinal, psychological and somatic symptoms.
Patients with IBS reported more frequent physical punishment, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse, as well as more general trauma.
Specific events investigated range from witnessing violence or being forced to touched another person's intimate parts to living in a family dealing with a member's mental illness and suffering the loss of a parent.
The strongest predictor for IBS was a history of emotional abuse, and the effects were more strongly reported in women in general.