What are Common Digestive Issues Among Women?
Even though gastrointestinal (GI) problems affect both men and women, certain GI disorders are more prevalent among women. This may be because of the differences in the structures of the gastrointestinal tract in men and women. Hormonal fluctuations that occur in women’s bodies as a result of menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can also render gut conditions, like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), more severe in patients who are women.
If you or a loved one have been struggling with distressing GI concerns, please seek GI disease treatment in Dallas, TX. Our physician-led network of GI providers at Digestive Health Associates of Texas diagnoses and addresses common gastrointestinal diseases in women, helping individuals alleviate symptoms and enhance their quality of life.
What are the primary differences between men's and women’s GI tracts?
Though the function of the digestive system in men and women is generally the same, there are a handful of distinguishable variations that account for a minor adjustment in the way GI diseases are treated. Beginning at the top area of the digestive tract, a woman’s lower esophageal sphincter (which is the bundle of muscles that block food from regurgitation back up the esophagus) closes tighter than that of a man's. Women generate less stomach acid than men. In addition, their stomachs empty out much slower. The large intestine in a woman is around ten centimeters longer than a man's and in women’s bodies, the gastrointestinal organs are found in the same area as the reproductive organs. Generally, a female's GI processes take longer than a male's.
Which GI issues are more common among women?
There are some digestive conditions that impact women more frequently than men. Several of the most common GI issues among women include:
- IBS: Women are two times as likely to suffer from this condition, which impacts the small bowel and colon, compared to men. Furthermore, symptoms of IBS can be associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle, increasing in severity around the start of the period.
- Gallstones: Gallstones are comprised of hardened cholesterol that forms into crystalline structures in the gallbladder. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with gallstones than men.
- Celiac disease: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease wherein ingesting gluten results in damage to the small intestines. It is more frequently found in women than in men.
- Gastroparesis: This condition arises when the stomach fails to empty fast enough. This may cause digestive symptoms, such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. This condition is more commonly diagnosed in women.
- Constipation: A common gastrointestinal symptom, constipation occurs when stool hardens and becomes difficult to pass. Women are three times more likely to have constipation compared to men.
In the event you or a family member experiences any of the conditions listed above, please know that help is within reach through Digestive Health Associates of Texas. Connect with one of our GI doctors in Dallas, TX today to get care for your gastrointestinal health needs.
How should women maintain good gastrointestinal health?
Heeding healthy lifestyle habits will help support and maintain good digestive health and wellness, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. Ideal factors that can help keep your digestive health in optimal shape involve:
- Consulting a GI specialist for troubling symptoms
- Drinking adequate amounts of water daily
- Decreasing stress
- Eating more high-fiber foods
- Managing a healthy weight
- Engaging in regular exercise
- Consuming smaller meals more frequently
Need help with digestive problems in Dallas, TX?
If you experience any symptoms associated with your gastrointestinal system, then get in touch with the board-certified gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas to get the care you need. As a physician-led group of gastroenterology providers, we routinely treat and manage digestive conditions in Dallas, TX patients. Our team is ready to help you ease your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.