Does Your Gender Impact Your Health?
Community Connection Newsletter, Summer 2008
Women tend to schedule more doctor visits than men, but why? Part of the reason has to do with necessity. "Because of health care needs associated with reproduction, women access health care much more than men," says Katarina Lannér-Cusin, M.D., medical director of Women's Services at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.
Simply due to their anatomy, women can also develop a host of gender-specific health conditions, ranging from uterine fibroids to cancers of the uterus, ovary, and cervix. And women may develop different symptoms than men do for the same condition. When having a heart attack, for example, women are more likely than men to experience pain between the shoulder blades and nausea.
Almost all research used to be based on men, and now it's finally targeting women and we're finding out that women are very different from men in the way they respond to certain medications and other treatments.
"There are ample opportunities to provide women with better care," adds Dr. Lannér-Cusin. "For colonoscopy, for example, we can now use smaller scopes that work best with a woman's anatomy."