Clinical Cues/Health Impact of IPV

Be alert to patient/partner behavior(s) that may be an indication of an abusive relationship
  • Patient missing appointments and/or not following up 
  • Partner always accompanies patient to appointments, speaking for her, interrupting her, hovering.
Even if a patient answers “No” to screening questions, there may be clinical cues that alert you to explore the issue further.
  • Current or past IPV can result in acute injuries, behavioral health problems, and chronic medical disorders as shown in the following table:


IPV: Associations with Health

Physical Injuries
-Bruises and petechia, lacerations, fractures, bites - (especially to head, neck, face [eyes, cheeks, lips, nose], arms, and breasts) and abdomen when pregnant
  -strangulation, loose or broken teeth
-Death (homicide)
Mental Health
-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
-Eating disorders
-Panic attacks
-Death (suicide)
Substance Abuse
-Alcohol and illicit drug abuse
-Cigarette smoking
-Tranquilizer and sleeping pill abuse
Chronic Disorders
-Chronic pain syndromes
-Headaches, migraines
-Hearing loss
-Temporo-mandibular disorders
-Cardiovascular disorders
-Gastrointestinal disorders (irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, spastic colon, ulcers)
Reproductive Health
-Unintended pregnancy
-Pelvic pain, dysmenorrheal, dyspareunia
-Urinary tract infections
-Pelvic inflammatory disease
-Sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV
-Abnormal cervical cancer screening tests (Pap)
-Non-viable pregnancies (miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth)
-Poor prenatal behaviors (late or no prenatal care, poor nutrition, smoking)
-Poor pregnancy outcomes (prematurity)