This is an excerpt of a guest post I recently wrote for Contemporary Pediatrics on the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on patient health. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events that take place during childhood. They may include abuse and neglect or other risk factors, such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance use disorders.
I am a general urologist in Muskegon, Michigan, a small to midsized community on the shore of Lake Michigan. Even though I take care of pediatric and adult patients, somehow in my mind I had always separated these two groups of patients. It never occurred to me that what happens to a person during childhood could go on to increase his/her risk of developing chronic disease(s) during adulthood. For me, this was a real paradigm shift.
ACEs in Urology
Many of my patients with bed-wetting, or nocturnal enuresis, have a history of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). I wondered, might the ACEs model be used to help explain the behavior of some of my adult patients with chronic conditions?
When I started asking, ACEs were present in many of my adult patients – most notably those with recurrent bladder cancer who had failed multiple attempts to stop smoking. I suspect the incidence of ACEs will be found to be high in patients suffering from interstitial cystitis and sexual dysfunction as well.
Continue reading this post on Contemporary Pediatrics.