IBS symptoms affect men differently than women
Dealing with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is difficult for anyone diagnosed with the disease. A new study highlights how the bowel disease can have an entirely different impact on men compared to women. Which gender is affected more severely and why is it important?
According to the study, “Understanding gender differences in IBS: the role of stress from the social environment,” presented during the Oct. 19 poster session at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) annual meeting in Philadelphia, men have more interpersonal difficulties with the disease than women.
Researchers from University at Buffalo discovered me with IBS tend to experience personality changes that could hinder how they relate to their physicians; in turn having an impact on how men are treated for the disease.
Little known about how men experience IBS
Researchers say there is not much; known about how IBS affects men, given that twice as many women have the disease, compared to males.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation and can be disabling. Researchers are still uncertain how IBS develops.
Treatment has been to control symptoms, which can sometimes be difficult, though advances have been made in medical therapy.
The current study showed there is little difference in IBS symptoms between men and women, but contrary to previous study findings, men are more likely to experience difficulty with relationships and social support.
Men with IBS more hostile than women
For the study 284 men with IBS answered questions designed to measure severity of IBS symptoms, social support and interpersonal relationship status,
Men and women report the same level of distress related to IBS. But compared to women, men were more likely have more fights with others, keep people at a distance, experience more negative social interactions, lower quality relationships and less social support.
The study authors say the finding is important because it could influence how doctor's treat men with IBS, interfering with "sound doctor-patient relationships".
Citation: Elyse Thakur MA, Michael Gurtman PhD, Gregory Gudleski PhD, Laurie Keefer PhD, Darren Brenner MD, Silpa Mandava MD, Jeffrey Lackner PsyD. UNDERSTANDING GENDER DIFFERENCES IN IBS: THE ROLE OF STRESS FROM THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT. Program No. P506. ACG 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting Abstracts. Philadelphia, PA: American College of Gastroenterology.
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