In March we celebrate International Women’s Day. So, to celebrate all the amazing women out there we wanted to write some blog posts that focus on women’s health. While there are some obvious topics relating to women’s health like menstrual issues, fertility, and hormonal health (which we will definitely blog about), there is an interesting question that many people may not think about: do women experience more digestive issues than men? So, let’s explore this question.
The American College of Gastroenterology also explored this question a few years ago, and went through a comparison between male and female digestion. One common digestive problem that women experience more often than men is nausea and bloating. This seems to be for a couple of reasons. The first is that women tend to make less stomach acid than men, which means it takes longer to digest their food. Another reason is that women’s stomach seem to empty at a slower rate than men’s which can lead to the sensation of nausea and bloating. Throw in some stress to this mix, and you’re definitely bound to experience a slower digestive response that makes symptoms like bloating and nausea worse.
Also related to slower emptying through the digestive tract, more women than men tend to experience constipation. Further, an increase of hormones in the body during pregnancy or a woman’s menstrual cycle can also slow down the body’s digestive process, which contributes to feelings of constipation.
Another digestive concern that seems to affect more women than men is gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining). One theory for this is that women tend to relay more on NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for pain relief for headaches or menstrual cramps. When used frequently, NSAIDs can cause irritation to the stomach lining, which can lead to symptoms of gastritis (Gnawing or burning ache or pain in upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating).
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, the good news is that there are a lot of things our Toronto naturopaths can do to help. Whether you’re looking for ways to ease symptoms of indigestion, have regular bowel movements, or ease menstrual cramps naturally during your period, our naturopaths have lots of natural methods to help you achieve your health goals.