What is the Connection between Psychological Stress and Ulcers?

Briefly noted: “Psychological Stress Increases Risk for Peptic Ulcer, Regardless of Helicobacter pylori Infection, or Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs” Clin Gastroeenterol Hepatol 2015; 498-506. From an initial sample of 3379 Danish adults with medical data/blood  in 1982-83, 76 subjects developed ulcers in this prospective study. Life stress at baseline increased the risk of subsequent ulcer and was not fully explained by confounding variables, by socioeconomic status or by association with NSAIDs or smoking. Ulcer incidence wa 3.5% in the highest tertile of stress compared with 1.6% in the lowest tertile.

Bottomline: Since the discovery of Helicobacter pylori, the role, if any, of psychological stress in contributing to ulcers has been questioned. This study indicates that stress may play a role in ulcer development or at the very least is a marker of individuals at increased risk.

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