Rough childhood can lead to adult ulcers

August 4, 2009

If a parent loses a job, he or she may not be the only one developing an ulcer as a result of it.

A parent loses a job – and is out of work for months. Arguments are daily occurrences in the household. A family member acquires a chronic illness. Any of these scenarios can wreak havoc on children, leading to stomach problems or other physical ailments in adult years.

One study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (July 21) found that such adversities can lead to peptic ulcers. A study in Finland, led by Markku Sumanen and colleagues, evaluated working-age adults, querying them on childhood negative experiences such as divorce, financial difficulties, conflicts, fear of family members, or chronic illness.

Financial issues, conflict, fear of a family member, and chronic illness were found to be more commonly experienced by peptic ulcer patients, compared with controls. Financial difficulties were the leading influential factor in predicting peptic ulcers.

Adverse childhood experiences, such as those listed above, may or may not serve as true peptic ulcer risk factors. But they could point to future onset of the condition.