THE GI GENDER DIVIDE: PART II
Men and women are different in a lot of aspects, especially when it comes to the basics of physiology. In the case of GI health, there are several differences—differences that may require tailored testing, diagnosis, and treatment of certain conditions and diseases, as well as pose greater health risk for one gender or the other. Understanding these differences can also help men and women better manage their own digestive health.
The Male Digestive System
The male digestive system is much simpler than that of a woman. The male body does not have to deal with pregnancy, and men have fewer organs with which the colon must share space. Here are a few facts about the male colon:
- A man’s colon is far less complex and confined because it only has to share space with his prostate and bladder.
- The male digestive system is free from influence by monthly hormonal fluctuations or pregnancy, reducing the incidence of bloating, constipation, and other GI discomforts.
- The male colon is a lot shorter than that of a female, meaning digestion of food takes far less time.
It’s much easier for men to maintain the muscles that aid digestion and men have a lower incidence of IBS. However, men have a slightly higher rate of colon cancer (4.7% vs. women’s 4.4%), and the incidence of polyps occurs at an earlier age. That means you need to book that screening colonoscopy as soon as it is due at age 50.
Men are also more frequently diagnosed with serious conditions related to GERD, but less likely to seek help for its symptoms, such as heartburn and acid reflux. The lack of symptom reporting may be one reason behind this gender difference, as many men miss out on early detection and treatment or prevention.
Higher testosterone levels in men make them prone to gaining abdominal weight, putting men at higher risk of serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Nutrition Tips for Better GI Health
- fruits and vegetables (raw and cooked), ensuring variety
- fiber-rich whole grains
- lean animal proteins and/or plant-based proteins
- Excess saturated fats
- Low-nutrient starchy foods
- Artificial ingredients
Getting Great GI Healthcare
Whatever your gender, you want the best GI care. San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Centers are safety-certified facilities, staffed by some of San Antonio’s leading board-certified gastroenterologists and a medical team that specializes in gastrointestinal health. Get top-level care from expert physicians that will fit your budget, plus the comfort and convenience of accessible parking and convenient curbside patient drop-off and pick-up.