Sex differences in medicine
|This article is one of a series on:|
|Sex differences in humans|
Sex differences in medicine include sex-specific diseases, which are diseases that occur only in people of one sex; and sex-related diseases, which are diseases that are more common to one sex, or which manifest differently in each sex. For example, certain autoimmune diseases may occur predominantly in one sex. Women account for 90% of primary biliary cirrhosis cases, whereas primary sclerosing cholangitis is more common in men. Gender-based medicine, also called "gender medicine", is the field of medicine that studies the biological and psychosocial differences between the human sexes and how that affects diseases. Traditionally, medical research has mostly been conducted using the male body as the basis for clinical studies. The findings of these studies have often been applied across the sexes and healthcare providers have assumed a uniform approach in treating both male and female patients. More recently, medical research has started to understand the importance of taking the sex into account as the symptoms and responses to medical treatment may be very different between sexes.
Neither concept should be confused with sexually transmitted diseases, which are diseases that have a significant probability of transmission through sexual contact.
Sex-related illnesses have various causes:
- Sex-linked genetic illnesses
- Parts of the reproductive system that are specific to one sex
- Social causes that relate to the gender role expected of that sex in a particular society.
- Different levels of prevention, reporting, diagnosis or treatment in each gender.
Examples of sex-related illnesses and disorders in female humans:
- 99% of breast cancer occurs in women.
- Ovarian cancer, and other diseases of the female reproductive system occur only in women. Endometriosis, another female reproductive disorder occurs almost exclusively in women, but has rarely been found in men undergoing estrogen treatment for prostate cancer.
- More women than men suffer from osteoporosis
- Autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren's syndrome and scleroderma, are more prevalent in women. An estimated 75 percent of those living with autoimmune diseases are female.
For more information on sex and autoimmune diseases, see Autoimmunity.
- In Western cultures, more women than men suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia
- Alzheimer's disease has a higher rate in women than in men.
- Women are more likely to suffer from unipolar clinical depression (although bipolar disorder appears to affect both sexes equally)
- Psychologists are more likely to diagnose women than men with borderline or histrionic personality disorder. There is no current agreement on whether this is because of a real underlying difference between the sexes, or simply because of deeply ingrained social attitudes.
Examples of sex-related illnesses and disorders in male humans:
- Prostate cancer and other diseases of the male reproductive system occur only in men.
- Diseases of X-linked recessive inheritance, such as colour blindness, occur more frequently in men.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms are six times more common in men, and thus some countries have introduce screening for males at risk of suffering the condition.
- Autism is approximately 4 times more prevalent in males than females.
- Psychologists are more likely to diagnose men than women with antisocial personality disorder and substance-abuse disorders.
- Health disparities
- Healthcare inequality
- Men's health
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Reproductive medicine
- Sex differences in humans
- Women's health
- Glezerman, Marek. "Website of The International Society for Gender Medicine". The International Society for Gender Medicine. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
- Cuozzo, Karen; Bratman, Steven (reviewer) (2005, September (last reviewed)). "Women, Men, and Medicine: We're Not Equal". EBSCO Publishing. Check date values in:
- Everyday Health > Women and Autoimmune Disorders By Krisha McCoy. Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH. Last Updated: 12/02/2009
- Gender Differences in Alzheimer's Disease by Brian R. Ott, M.D., and Deborah A. Cahn-Weiner, Ph.D.. Geriatric Times. November/December 2001. Vol. II. Issue 6
- Newschaffer CJ, Croen LA, Daniels J et al. The epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders [PDF]. Annu Rev Public Health. 2007;28:235–58. doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.28.021406.144007. PMID 17367287.