Journal: American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2006 Dec;101 Suppl 3:S602-9.
Authors and affiliation: Ouyang A, Wrzos HF. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is found more commonly in women than men. It is more prevalent in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and chronic pelvic pain – all syndromes characterized by pain and found predominantly in women.
This article reviews evidence for a role of biological sex factors and gender on the pathways mediating visceral pain. The effect of gonadal hormones on gastrointestinal motility and the sensory afferent pathway and central processing of visceral stimuli and the contribution of gender role to the clinical presentation are discussed.
Although differences in responses to treatment modalities between genders exist, the approach to IBS patients in both genders is quite similar. Nevertheless, a special attention to gender role and stress-related factors should be addressed.
New developments in research, outlined in the paper, might bring more gender-specific treatments in the future.