Personality disorders may cause severe stomach ulcers: Study

H pylori is responsible for chronic low-level inflammation of the stomach lining.

Updated: Oct 03, 2010, 13:49 PM IST

London: People suffering from any kind of personality disorder are up to five times more likely to develop stomach ulcers, a new study has claimed.

Researchers at the Descartes University, Paris, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, have found that psychological disorders affect the body-mind interactions of a person, leading to Helicobacter pylori infection.

Helicobacter pylori, or H pylori, is a bacterium commonly found in stomach and is responsible for chronic low-level inflammation of the stomach lining. It causes peptic ulcers by damaging the mucous coating protecting the stomach and duodenum.

"Manifestations of peptic ulcer disease are influenced by mind-body interactions," lead researcher Dr Jean-Pierre Schuster was quoted as saying by the `Daily Mail`.

Although stress has long been associated with the risk of ulcers, the discovery of links with Helicobacter pylori infection led to less attention being paid to psychological factors, the scientists said.

Just how personality factors could have such an effect is far from clear but there are a number of theories.

One idea, according to the researchers, is that certain personality types, such as dependant personality, may be more likely to be involved in health-risk behaviour, such as smoking, sleeplessness and irregular meals.

Another theory, they said, is that some personality factors trigger a stress response from hormones that have a detrimental effect on the immune system.

PTI