Gender differences with Acid Reflux?
A study shows that men report fewer symptoms but often appear to have more severe reflux disease.
It’s been found that men and women may be experiencing symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux somewhat differently, according to a study published in the Archives of Surgery.
The researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 adults living in an Australian community with more than 2,000 men and women who were having surgery to correct their gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Both women in the community and those who were having surgery complained of more frequent and severe heartburn than men. They also reported having more trouble swallowing solid foods. They were also slightly more likely than men to be taking medications to treat their heartburn.
After documenting symptoms and complaints from each group, doctors also looked at the characteristics of patients who came in for surgery, they found that men actually had more physical manifestations of acid reflux disease.
The men, who were about seven years younger than the female surgical patients, were more likely to have weak lower esophageal sphincter muscles, which is the valve like structure where the esophagus meets the stomach and causes the issues with reflux. A weak LES can be caused by many factors from hereditary to diet and medications, alcohol, smoking and obesity to name a few.
Men were also more likely to have Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer. Barrett’s esophagus is caused by repeated exposure to the damaging stomach acids. To find out more about Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer go to www.ecan.org.
According to the study, women appear to be more likely to have a problem called a hiatal hernia, where the stomach pokes upward through a hole in the diaphragm. Commonly hiatal hernias are associated with heartburn, however because you have a hiatal hernia does not mean you will always have heartburn or acid reflux disease.
The study also noted that the women who were going in for reflux surgery were also more likely to be obese than their male counterparts.
So Does This Mean Men Are Suffering in Silence?
These findings could mean that men may be experiencing significant symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux but are less willing to seek help than women. This is a common issue across other areas of healthcare. Men tend to underreport their symptoms. This may explain why four times as many men die of esophageal cancer than women.
Whether male or female, the pain of acid reflux is still a major concern and both genders do seek relief – whether over the counter or in the doctor’s office. Your Doctor will likely first recommend lifestyle changes for relief of frequent heartburn and acid reflux. The #1 doctor recommended lifestyle change for relief of nighttime reflux is elevating the head of your bed. It is recommended that you sleep on a gradual incline versus a pile of pillows or a short wedge that bends you in the middle as that can actually make your reflux worse. Gravity1st™ Elevated Sleep Systems mattress is the perfect answer for you to get consistently great rest your body craves. Its patented technology and gradual incline are both comfortable and portable. Find Gravity1st™ mattresses at www.Gravity1st.com.