Causes & Risk Factors, STD

Childhood Trauma and STD Risk

February 22, 2018

Trauma during childhood can have life-long results on wellbeing and well-being. Furthermore, it’s not only the most severe childhood injury that affects the quality, and sometimes even length, of a person’s life. A number of adverse childhood experience, also known as ACEs, can have long-term effects on health. The initial study of ACEs looked at seven sorts of childhood trauma.

These ranged from being sworn at or insulted by adults in the home, to physical and sexual abuse, to living with a family member who abused chemicals or has been severely mentally ill. Measured ACEs also included having a family member visit prison or visiting a parent treated .

What the study found was shocking. It did not simply show the anticipated –that severe abuse had long-term consequences. Rather, it showed there was a dose-response connection between adverse childhood events and a lot of the most frequent causes of death. To Put It Differently, the greater ACEs a person had experienced (from 0 to 7), the greater their risk of a number of results, for example:

  • Low educational achievement
  • Income worries
  • Unemployment
  • Heart disorder
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health concerns
  • Alcoholism or alcohol misuse
  • Asthma
  • celiac disease

Childhood trauma, as measured by higher numbers of ACEs, has also been shown to increase the risk of a variety of sexual health concerns including:

  • Starting to have sex when younger than ordinary
  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • sexual abuse
  • multiple sexual partners
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Adverse childhood experiences are incredibly common. In that initial study, more than half of participants had a minumum of one kind of exposure.

What’s more, when they had one vulnerability, they’re likely to have more. More than four out of five kids who were exposed to a single category of abuse or family dysfunction were also subjected to another. However, only slightly over 6 per cent experienced four or more exposures. It was these people who were in the best risk of numerous outcomes.

How is it that encounters which happen during childhood can affect the rest of a individual’s life? It appears to mostly have to do with behaviour –both conscious and unconscious. Nevertheless, it’s also possible that you will find additional, non-behavioral, factors at work. These variables may overlap with behavioral variables and, consequently, be hard to measure. However, research has indicated that adverse childhood experiences could be related to changes in the immune system which make people more susceptible to disease. They might also be associated with metabolic alterations that were linked to diabetes and other health issues.

Understanding the connections between childhood injury and disorder can be difficult. Looking at the connection between childhood trauma and sexually transmitted diseases is one method to understand that path.

Childhood Trauma and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

When children experience abuse or other kinds of trauma, it alters the ways in which they interact with the entire world.

Research suggests that children who have experienced trauma are more likely to engage in a number of unhealthy coping behaviours. This may include disordered eating, smoking, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviour.  All these behaviours can make people feel better on a short-term basis, and help them deal. Unfortunately, these coping behaviors can also be connected with a range of health issues when used over a long time period.

Studies have shown the more ACEs a person experiences, the greater their risk of having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. The connection between ACEs and STDs has been observed in women and men as well as across racial groups.

Why? Since the more ACEs a individual has had, the more likely it is they will have experienced one or more sexual risk variables. People with higher numbers of ACEs are demonstrated to be more likely to begin having sex until they turned 15, have over 30 life sexual partners, also have issues with alcohol or drug abuse. In reality, the greater risk of STDs with more ACEs appears to be almost entirely as a result of an increased chance of such behaviours.

Childhood Trauma and Sexual Dysfunction

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s also data linking childhood trauma to erectile dysfunction. Individuals seeking sex therapy have a higher chance of having a high number of ACEs than the overall populace. This probably reflects not just the risk factors cited previously but the simple fact that sexual health is both physical and psychological. In addition to affecting behavior, injury affects attachment and connection. Whenever these are disrupted, it can result in issues with sex ranging from lack of attention or pleasure to pain and fear.

Addressing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma

The best defense from the long-term effects of childhood injury is working to change the world so that fewer children experience trauma in the first place. But that is not necessarily possible. That is why it’s important to also help individuals address the long term effects of trauma on their health. This includes teaching skills related to healthy coping and endurance in addition to helping people process their trauma more directly through trauma-informed therapy and other trauma-informed interventions.