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Why fighting with your spouse damages intestines –study

Lovers fond of fighting have a high risk of contracting Leaky gut, a new study has shown.

Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine become damaged causing undigested food particles and bacteria to leak through the intestines and into the blood stream.

The condition is also linked to other deadly condition like diabetes, depression and heart disease.

The study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology that was conducted by Ohio University saw 43 healthy couples between 24-61 years old who were married for over three years recruited.

The couples were then asked to list causes of disagreement in marriages which include in-laws, money and infidelity and they were recorded.

The recordings were then used to analyse verbal and non-verbal conflict modes.


Blood samples of couples before and after arguments and found that the most hostile had higher levels of LPS- binding protein the biometre for a leaky gut.

The lead researcher on the study Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, who is also the director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio University, said marital fights causes more health complications.

“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,” he said.

“Marital stress is a particularly potent stress, because your partner is typically your primary support and in a troubled marriage your partner becomes your major source of stress,” he said.

His co-author Dr Michael Bailey said that stress changes to microbes in the gut appear to be linked.

He said that bacteria leaking to the blood is dangerous and leads to mental illness.

He also warned that the condition worsens with age.