The gastrointestinal tract between men and women are overall very similar but there are some subtle differences. These differences can lead to unique symptoms and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in women compared to men.
What symptoms are more prevalent in women?
Women are known to have more intense gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. Women are also more likely to have a delay in emptying of food from the stomach. This is called gastroparesis and leads to women experiencing more symptoms of nausea and bloating.
What conditions are more common in women?
GI disorders such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are prevalent in women.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is more common in women and also impact women differently due to hormonal fluctuations.
Women are more prone to gallbladder stones due to women having a delayed gallbladder motility.
Also, women break down alcohol and medications differently which ultimately leads to more severe liver disease in women.
Other GI disorders are unique to women such as pregnancy related disorders, chronic pelvic pain and fecal incontinence.
How is a Colonoscopy different in women?
The risk of colon cancer in women and men are the same and is considered the third most common cancer in both genders. Every women above the age of 50 is recommended to have a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening. However, women are more likely to delay their colonoscopy procedure.
The colonoscopy in women tend to be more difficult due to the fact they have longer colons, as well as scar tissues from prior gynecology surgeries (i.e. cesarean section, hysterectomy) and finally from active gynecology issues that can alter anatomy (i.e. fibroids, endometriosis). Despite these differences the colonoscopy is a low risk procedure that is strongly recommended for prevention of colorectal cancer.
Why Wake Gastroenterology?
Dr. Angela Hira and Dr. Julia Hughes are here for women who feel more comfortable discussing their GI conditions with a woman. Dr. Hira and Dr. Hughes can connect with the unique physical and emotional stressors women face awhile balancing their busy schedule and multiple roles.
Dr. Hira and Dr. Hughes are eager to help you and is accepting new patients. Make your appointment to see one of them soon.