Thu Aug 16, 2018, 09:30 AM

Marital rows could make you ill, say scientists

Occasional squabbling is a normal part of marriage, but when it descends into vicious rows it can makes couples ill, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Ohio State University, in the US, found that people who became embroiled in bad-tempered fights are more likely to suffer from leaky guts, which unleashes bacteria into the blood and triggers disease. It is the first study to show how bad marriages can make people sick.

Lead author Dr Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, of The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said: “We think that this everyday marital distress - at least for some people - is causing changes in the gut that lead to inflammation and, potentially, illness. “Hostility is a hallmark of bad marriages - the kind that lead to adverse physiological changes.”

For the study, researchers recruited 43 married couples, surveyed them about their relationships and then videoed them for 20 minutes while they discussed touchy topics such as money and their in-laws. They recorded episodes of hostile behavior, including dramatic eye rolls or criticism of a partner, and took blood samples before and after the confrontations.

Men and women who demonstrated more hostile behaviors during observations had higher levels of one biomarker for leaky gut, and also high levels of inflammation throughout the body.

A regimen of anti-inflammatories would seem to have yet another benefit...

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