What are Common GI Conditions Among Women?

Common GI Conditions in Women

Although digestive diseases affect both males and females, certain gastrointestinal conditions are more widespread among women. This might be because of the differences in the structures of the gastrointestinal tract between men and women. Hormonal shifts that occur in women’s bodies because of menses, pregnancy, and menopause may also render GI conditions, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), more extreme in women.

If you or a loved one have been experiencing gastrointestinal concerns, please seek gastrointestinal disease treatment in New Orleans, LA. The extensive group of gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates diagnoses and treats common digestive diseases in women, helping patients relieve symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

What are the primary differences between women's and men's GI systems?

Though the function of the gastrointestinal system in women and men is structured identical, there are a handful of distinct differences that call for a slight adaptation in how gastrointestinal concerns are treated. Beginning at the top area of the gastrointestinal system, a woman’s lower esophageal sphincter (which is the ring of muscles that keep food from passing back up the esophagus) shuts more tightly than a male's. Women generate less stomach acid than men. Additionally, their stomachs empty much slower. The large intestine in a woman is around ten centimeters longer than it is in a man's body, as the gastrointestinal organs share space with the reproductive organs. As a whole, a woman’s digestive system activities take more time than a man's.

Which digestive problems are more common among women?

There are several digestive concerns that affect women more frequently than men. Some of the most common GI problems in women involve:

  • Gastroparesis: This condition occurs when the stomach fails to empty fast enough, which could lead to GI issues, like bloating, nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. This condition is more commonly diagnosed in women.

  • Celiac disease: This is an autoimmune disorder wherein consuming gluten causes damage to the small intestines. Celiac disease is more commonly diagnosed in women than in men.

  • Gallstones: These are hardened cholesterol that develops into crystalline deposits in the gallbladder. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with this condition than men.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome: Women are two times as likely to have this condition, which impacts the small bowel and colon, compared to men. Moreover, IBS symptoms can be associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle, intensifying in severity toward the beginning of the period.

  • Constipation: A common gastrointestinal problem, constipation occurs when stool becomes hard or dry and difficult to pass. Women are three times more likely to experience constipation than a man.

If you or a family member notice any of GI conditions mentioned here, then help is within reach through Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. Request a consultation with one of our gastroenterology specialists in New Orleans, LA today to help treat your GI condition.

How can women maintain proper gastrointestinal health?

Heeding healthy habits can help maintain and support good gastrointestinal health and wellness, no matter if you are a woman or a man. Some of the habits that can help keep your gastrointestinal health on track include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Seeing a GI specialist for digestive symptoms
  • Drinking adequate water daily
  • Consuming smaller meals more frequently
  • Managing a healthy weight
  • Decreasing stress
  • Consuming more high-fiber foods

Need help with GI issues in New Orleans, LA?

Should you experience any troubling symptoms associated with your GI tract, then connect with the expert GI doctors at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to get the care you need. As a physician-led group of gastroenterology providers, we regularly treat gastrointestinal disorders in New Orleans, LA patients. Our team can help you ease your symptoms and experience an improved quality of life.