Domestic Violence and Your Health
Domestic violence is the most common cause of injury to women ages 18 to 44 in the United States. After abuse starts, it usually continues. And it's likely to get worse over time. Abuse that starts with a slap may build up over time to kicking and shoving and finally choking.
The repeated injury and stress of living in a violent relationship can cause long-lasting health problems, such as:
- Reference Depression Opens New Window.
- Reference Panic attacks Opens New Window.
- Reference Post-traumatic stress disorder Opens New Window.
- Headaches, chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, and pelvic pain.
- Reference Digestive problems (irritable bowel syndrome) Opens New Window.
- Reference Fibromyalgia Opens New Window.
Abused women have a higher risk of major health problems. Women who are abused are also more likely to smoke or abuse alcohol, which can also lead to health problems.Reference 5 Other health problems linked to sexual abuse include Reference sexually transmitted infections Opens New Window (including Reference HIV/AIDS Opens New Window) and unintended pregnancies.
If you're pregnant
Pregnancy can be an especially dangerous time for women who are in abusive relationships. Abuse may get worse or even start during pregnancy. As many as 4% to 8% of all pregnant women are in abusive relationships.Reference 2 Problems during pregnancy, such as low weight gain, Reference anemia Opens New Window, infections, and bleeding, are higher for these women.
Babies who are born to abused women also suffer. Abuse during pregnancy has been shown to increase the baby's risk of low birth weight, premature birth, and death.Reference 2
There's no excuse for abuse. If you are being abused, it's time to get help. You deserve to be safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 8, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Brigid McCaw, MD, MS, MPH, FACP - Family Violence Prevention