5 Common Digestive Issues In Women
Bloating, constipation, cramps, and diarrhea are common symptoms before, during, and after your period. These same gastrointestinal symptoms are ones that accompany digestive issues. And oddly enough, digestive problems are more common in women than men. Some say digestive issues in women are more prevalent due to hormones, the mind-gut connection, or the slow emptying of the stomach and colon. Regardless, it is important to be educated on digestive issues in women that could be disturbing a healthy functioning digestive tract.
Common Digestive Issues In Women
Some digestive issues in women only require dietary changes, while some call for treatment. Here at Birmingham Gastroenterology, we understand the importance of a healthy digestive system and want to help you understand which digestive issues you are more at risk for. Continue reading to learn about five common digestive issues more prevalent in women than men.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in your digestive tract. This inflammation can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, malnutrition, or other life-threatening complications in severe cases. Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, many believe it occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the gut. According to Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Crohn’s disease is 1.1-1.8 times higher in women than men. Although studies only show a slight predominance in women over men, Chron’s can also affect a woman’s fertility, including miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth.
Gallstones are hardened deposits of bile that form in the gallbladder, which is an organ under your liver. Gallstones may result from too much cholesterol, a diet high in saturated fat, or too much bilirubin in your bile. Although gallstones can happen in men and women alike, women tend to be more affected. According to Medscape, women are more likely to develop cholesterol gallstones due to estrogen, which increases biliary cholesterol secretion in their reproductive years. Birth control pills also have been linked to the formation of gallstones.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Another common digestive issue in women is irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine and can cause chronic or recurrent cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. Women experience irritable bowel syndrome at two to six times the rate men do. This is believed to be caused due to high levels of estrogen and progesterone slowing down gut motility.
People can usually refer to themselves as constipated if they pass three or fewer bowel movements a week. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, women have slower emptying from the large intestine when compared with men, which may help to explain why women tend to be more constipated. Common symptoms of constipation, in addition to not passing stool, are hard, dry, or lumpy stools, stools that are difficult or painful to pass, abdominal pain, or feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered when a person eats gluten. When someone with celiac ingests gluten, their body sends an immune response that attacks the small intestine. Although the cause is unclear, Some studies have found that celiac is twice as likely in girls and women compared to men. Although celiac cannot be cured, abstaining from eating gluten will help control your symptoms.
If you are looking for ways to improve your gut health or digestion, Birmingham Gastroenterology can help. We have decades of experience treating diseases and disorders in all parts of the digestive system, including the five common digestive issues in women listed above. To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options or ask questions about activities that help aid digestion, call us at (205) 271-8000.