As a woman, you have a lot on your plate. There’s the issue of childbirth, a menstrual cycle with its many idiosyncrasies, menopause, and of course, staying calm when everyone is overreacting. Now we are sorry to inform you that there are 6 common GI problems in women, and many times they are worse than the male gender experiences.
Those Dang Hormones
You guessed it, the hormonal changes women face make them more vulnerable to gastrointestinal problems. A woman’s body is different from a man’s, and this is also a contributing factor. For instance, a woman’s intestines are 10 cm longer than a male and their organs are more crowded. So both hormonal and physiological differences make GI problems more common in a woman.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Studies indicate that women are at a greater risk for IBS. In fact, it occurs 2 to 6 times more frequently in women. The symptoms include stomach pain, bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, which many women are familiar with are due to hormones. You can make some dietary changes to relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.
If you are a woman, you are two times more likely to have them. The hormone estrogen increases cholesterol levels in bile, consequently slowing down movement in the gallbladder. When this cholesterol hardens, it becomes a gallstone. This effect is greater in pregnant women due to the increase in estrogen and explains why women develop gallstones during and after pregnancy.
If you are taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), you are also likely to develop gallstones due to the increased estrogen.
Watch for symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, and yellow skin and eyes.
A woman will have constipation three times more often than men, and it increases as women age. If a woman has pelvic floor issues, she will have a greater risk of constipation especially during her menstrual cycle.
If a female is diagnosed with reproductive cancer, she is more likely to develop colon cancer. At the same time, a woman is diagnosed slightly less than men.
This disorder, where food takes longer to pass from the stomach to the intestines, is more common in women than in men. Symptoms include nausea and bloating.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It is more frequent in women by a 2 to 1 ratio. Symptoms include blood in stool, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.
Just because you are a woman, you may not get any of these GI problems, but stay informed as to their symptoms so you can receive medical assistance when needed.