Why Do Women Suffer from Gastrointestinal Disorders More Often Than Men?
I was wrapping up an anatomy and physiology lecture of the digestive tract in my Medical Assisting Class at Northwest Career College when one of my students asked a great question “why do women suffer more from gastrointestinal disorders than men?” Statistically women suffer from more GERD (heartburn), Nausea, bloating, constipation/diarrhea and gallbladder dysfunction. Although the statistics are very clear the causes are often left out. Is it hormonal? Is it psychological from stress? Is it how we are made?
After doing quite a bit of research this is what I found. It’s all of the above. In regards to heartburn anatomy is less the problem in fact women have stronger Cardiac sphincters (the flap that closes to not allow the passage of food and gastric juices back into the esophagus). However according to the American College of Gastroenterology women are more sensitive to the gasses that may escape so although they do not have more structural damage than men they report more symptoms. Women also seem to produce less stomach acid therefore the stomach empties slower causing more nausea and bloating. Constipation and diarrhea can be a combination of stresses of everyday life and uncomfortably of having bowel movements out of the comforts of home and the fact that women have shorter anal cavities. And lastly gallbladder disorders have been linked to female hormones and has been found amplified during and after pregnancy. Gallbladders in women also empty slower than in men and this leads to more gallstone formation. So as you can see there are multiple reasons women suffer from GI related disorders more often than men.
At Northwest Career College, we study all of the body’s systems including digestive, circulatory, endocrine, immune, lymphatic, nervous, muscular, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal and urinary. Northwest prepares our graduates for both their national boards as well as their new careers and their new healthcare jobs!