What Are Some of the Common GI Conditions Among Women?
Despite the fact that gastrointestinal (GI) concerns affect both females and males, some digestive conditions are more common among women. This may be because of the differences in the structures of the digestive tract in females and males. Hormonal fluctuations in women’s bodies because of menses, pregnancy, and menopause might also render gastrointestinal concerns, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), more extreme in women.
If you or a member of your family have been struggling with worrisome gastrointestinal symptoms, it may be time to seek GI disease care. The extensive network of gastroenterology providers at GI Alliance diagnoses and treats common digestive diseases in women, helping individuals find relief from symptoms and improve their quality of life.
What are the general differences between men's and women’s GI systems?
Even though the function of the digestive system in men and women is relatively the same, they have a couple of distinguishable differences that necessitate a slight adjustment in how gastrointestinal concerns are handled. Beginning at the top section of the digestive system, a woman’s lower esophageal sphincter (the ring of muscles that block food from passing back up the esophagus) shuts more tightly than that of a man's. Women generate less stomach acid than men. In addition, their stomachs empty at a much slower rate. The large intestine in a woman is approximately ten centimeters longer than a man's and in a woman's body, the GI organs are in the same space as the reproductive organs. Overall, a female's digestive activities require more time to complete than a man's.
Which gastrointestinal issues are more common among women?
There are several digestive concerns that impact women more frequently than men. A few common gastrointestinal concerns in women are:
- Constipation: A common digestive issue, constipation occurs when stool hardens and becomes difficult to pass. A woman is three times more likely to endure constipation than men.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Women are two times as likely to experience this condition, which impacts the small bowel and colon, compared to men. Furthermore, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms can be associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle, increasing in severity around the beginning of the period.
- Celiac disease: This is an autoimmune disease where consuming gluten results in damage to the small intestines. It is more commonly found in women than in men.
- Gastroparesis: Gastroparesis is a condition that occurs when the stomach fails to empty fast enough. This can lead to digestive symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and bloating. Gastroparesis is more commonly diagnosed in women.
- Gallstones: These are comprised of hardened cholesterol that forms into crystalline structures in the gallbladder. Women are twice as likely to have gallstones than men.
Should you or a loved one have any of the conditions listed above, know that help is close at hand at GI Alliance. Request a consultation with one of our GI specialists today to receive treatment for your digestive health needs.
How can a woman maintain proper gastrointestinal health?
Heeding healthy habits will help support and maintain optimal digestive health and wellness, no matter if you are a man or a woman. Good habits that can help keep your digestive health in good shape involve:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Consuming more high-fiber foods
- Getting regular exercise
- Drinking adequate water
- Minimizing stress
- Seeing a GI physician for digestive issues
- Eating lighter meals more frequently
Need help with GI concerns?
In the event you notice any concerning symptoms related to your gastrointestinal health, contact the skilled gastroenterologists at GI Alliance to get the personalized care you need. As a physician-led group of gastroenterologists, we routinely manage GI conditions in patients. Our GI group is here to help you soothe your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.