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Child Sexual Abuse Linked to Symptoms of IBS


A number of recent sex abuse scandals across the country involving teachers and coaches have alarmed parents and Hawaii personal injury lawyers. Such sexual abuse may have not just physical, but also emotional and long term consequences. These consequences may continue for years after the abuse has occurred, or over the rest of the victim’s life.

Children who are exposed to sexual, physical or emotional abuse in childhood are much more likely to suffer symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in adulthood. That data comes from a study which has just been published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

This is not the first time that researchers have found an association between abuse in childhood and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in adulthood. However, in this study, researchers were looking not just for the link between abuse and irritable bowel syndrome, but also the importance of the gender factor in the likelihood of developing symptoms of IBS in adulthood.

The study involved male and female subjects above the age of 18. The researchers found a history of abuse in about 294 patients, who also suffered from irritable bowel syndrome. Out of these subjects, 79% were female. They compared these with a total of 435 controls, out of which 77% were female.

According to the study, patients who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome were found to have a much higher likelihood of a history of adverse life events that include trauma, emotional and sexual abuse, physical punishment, witnessing violence, family mental illness, and even genital sex in their childhood.

The researchers also found that there was a much higher likelihood of such abuse affecting women in later life, compared to men. Moreover, emotional abuse was seen as a much higher predictor of irritable bowel syndrome, compared to other adverse life events.