Abused Children Manifest Symptoms of Early Abdominal Pain and Nausea

The prevalence of abused children experiencing unexplained early development of gastrointestinal symptoms was the focus of a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine (March/April 2010).

Annals of Family Medicine

The prevalence of abused children experiencing unexplained early development of gastrointestinal symptoms was the focus of a study published in the (March/April 2010).

Researchers, including Miranda A. L. van Tilburg, PhD, and Desmond K. Runyan, MD, found that “youth who have been maltreated are at increased risk for unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms,” which partially result from psychological distress.

Researchers analyzed

"data obtained from from the Longitudinal Studies ofChild Abuse and Neglect, a consortium of 5 prospective studiesof child maltreatment." These studies focused on845 children, who were observed from age 4 through 12, with information on gastrointestinal symptoms recorded every two years within that time frame. Maltreatment allegations were obtained from Child Protective Services (CPS).

It was found that by age 12, children reported gastrointestinal symptoms, life-time maltreatment and psychological distress.

In 91 percent of the cases, sexual abuse preceded or coincided with abdominal pain. Abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting was significantly associated with youth recall of having ever been psychologically, physically, or sexually abused.