What Common Digestive Conditions Affect Women?


Though digestive health disorders impact both men and women, certain gastrointestinal conditions occur more often in women. This could be due to the variation in the structures of the GI system in females and males. Hormonal changes in women’s bodies due to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause may also render GI concerns, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), more severe in female patients.

If you or a family member have been dealing with concerning gastrointestinal issues, we urge you to seek gastrointestinal disease treatment in Denver, CO. The physician-led network of GI providers at Colorado Gastroenterology diagnoses and addresses common digestive diseases in women, helping patients relieve symptoms and boost their quality of life.

What are the differences between men's and women’s GI tracts?

Although the function of the gastrointestinal system in men and women is generally identical, they have a couple of distinguishable differences that account for a minor adjustment in how gastrointestinal disorders are treated. Beginning at the top section of the GI system, a woman’s lower esophageal sphincter (which is the ring of muscles that keep food from passing upward into the esophagus) shuts more tightly than a male's. Women generate less stomach acid than men, and their stomachs empty out at a much slower rate. The large intestine in a woman is around ten centimeters longer than in men's, the digestive organs are in the same space as the reproductive organs. Generally, a woman’s GI activities take longer to complete than a man's.

Which digestive concerns are more common in women?

There are some GI problems that affect women more often than men. A few of the most common GI conditions among women include:

  • Celiac disease: Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where ingesting gluten leads to damage to the small bowel. Celiac disease is more often diagnosed in women than in men.
  • Constipation: A common GI complaint, constipation happens when stool hardens and becomes difficult to excrete. A woman is three times more likely to have constipation than men.
  • IBS: Women are two times as likely to have this condition, which impacts the small bowel and colon, compared to men. Furthermore, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms can be associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle, elevating in severity near the beginning of the period.
  • Gallstones: These are hardened cholesterol that forms into crystalline material in the gallbladder. Women are two times as likely to develop gallstones than men.
  • Gastroparesis: Gastroparesis is a condition that develops when the stomach does not empty quickly enough, which can lead to digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Gastroparesis is more prevalent among women.

If you or a family member suffer from any of the conditions listed above, help is accessible through Colorado Gastroenterology. Partner with one of our gastroenterology specialists in Denver, CO today to help treat your gastrointestinal concern.

How can a woman maintain good GI health?

Healthy habits can help maintain and foster optimal GI health, no matter if you are a woman or a man. Some of the factors that can help keep your gut health in good shape involve:

  • Managing an ideal weight
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Decreasing stress
  • Eating smaller meals more frequently
  • Consulting a GI physician for troubling issues
  • Consuming more fiber-rich foods
  • Drinking adequate water

Need help with GI conditions in Denver, CO?

Should you have any concerning symptoms related to your GI health, then reach out to the skilled gastroenterology specialists at Colorado Gastroenterology to have your condition assessed and treated. As a physician-led network of GI providers, we routinely treat GI conditions in Denver, CO patients. Our GI group is here to help you relieve your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of living.