Gastroenterological Diseases and Women

10/Sep/2021     Health

To wrap up Women's Health Week we are hearing from Gastroenterologist Dr Yoon-Kyo about gastroenterological diseases which disproportionality impact women.

Dr Yoon-Kyo An said there are several forms of gastroenterological disease which tend to impact women more commonly or more severely.

“The first is Microscopic colitis which has a higher incidence in women, in the range of 52 to 86% female to male incidence rate ratio, 3.0 and 1.9 respectively,” Dr An said.

“The most common occurrence of this is in people ages 50 to 70 and we understand female gender is a major risk factor and this gender preference is somewhat more pronounced in collagenous colitis.

“The reasons for this gender distribution are unknown and possible contributions of hormonal alterations or an ascertainment bias in women remain speculative.

Dr An explains In population-based studies the female to male ratio ranges from 4.4–7.9 to one for collagenous colitis and only from 1.8–5.0 to one for lymphocytic colitis.

“Whether this gender difference is due to a reporting bias in epidemiological studies of small numbers yet has to be determined,” Dr An said.

“Talking about gender differences, it is worth mentioning that, in one report, patients that got pregnant after a diagnosis of microscopic colitis lost their clinical symptoms of the microscopic colitis. This loss of symptoms was sustainable and was also evident after child birth.

“Though other features were not tested, this observation suggests that hormone status may play a role in the pathophysiology of microscopic colitis and warrants further investigation.”

Secondly she explains, Irritable bowel syndrome has high prevalence in women (It occurs 2-6 times more often in women than in men) with 8-20% of adult in the western world report symptoms consistent with IBS and 60-70% of these are women.

“Studies have revealed that IBS is more common in women than men. As for the IBS subtype, IBS with constipation is significantly more prevalent among women than men,” Dr An said.

“Sex hormones and gender differences may play important roles in the pathophysiology of IBS. However, its pathophysiologic mechanisms still remain largely unknown, and therapeutic implications are limited.

“Moreover, women IBS patients have been reported to feel more fatigue, depression, anxiety, and lower quality of life than men IBS patients.”

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