Special Report: Surprising ways your relationship could lead to serious illness

Special Report: Surprising ways your relationship could lead to serious illness

New research suggests stress can inflame the lining of your gut, allowing harmful bacteria to leak into your bloodstream.

This 'leaky gut' has been linked to a myriad of health issues from heart disease to depression and it can stem from a surprising source, your marriage.

Fighting with your spouse might lead you to feel sick over something you said. But for Katelyn Capparuccini, arguing with her husband took an actual physical toll.

"I dealt with a thing where i just never felt well," said Capparuccini.

Stress can change more than just your mood. It can actually have a negative impact on your health. To find out just how much of a physical effect these emotional confrontations can have, experts put married couples to the test.

"What we're looking at in the couples is the way they resolve a disagreement. Everybody's asked to disagree so we're not saying arguing is bad. It's the way people handle the argument."

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and Michael Bailey, researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center led the study.

They asked married couples to try to resolve a contentious disagreement, testing their blood before and after the argument. As their hostility increased, so did the inflammation in their guts. 

"We also see an increase in inflammation in these couples both, higher levels of inflammation in dissatisfied couples, and higher levels after their trying to resolve a disagreement."

Particularly hostile spats also led to higher levels of a bio-marker that indicated bacteria in the blood.

This is thought to be caused by leaky gut, a little-known condition that weakens the lining of the intestines, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and affecting everything from mental health to your immune system.

"Metabolic disorders, things like obesity and diabetes may also be associated with increased gut barrier permeability."

Which is why Katelyn and her husband work to always try and resolve their differences.

What is the right way to argue?  Researchers from UC Berkeley and Northwestern studied the subjects and have a list of don'ts.

If you raise your voice, have a mean look on your face, or press your lips together then you could have a higher risk of high blood pressure or heart problems.

If you avoid eye contact, tighten your neck, or stiffen your face then you have a higher risk of back aches and muscle tension.

Share this article: