Eureka!

Near the end of my research on gender-specific health I came across this journal which to me was like winning the jack pot.

Gender Medicine: The Journal for the Study of Sex & Gender Differences “focuses on the impact of sex and gender on normal human physiology, and the pathophysiology and clinical features of disease.”  The journal is a publishing haven for researchers who have investigated gender’s effect on health. Not only does the journal seek research studies, but it also publishes short reports, commentaries, opinion editorials, and letters to the editor. Topics include: “cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, dermatology, public health policy, infection disease, geriatrics and aging, gastroenterology, and neurology.” Gender Medicine really inquires after the latest and most innovative research related to gender and health.

The current issue includes articles entitled “Slender, Older Women Appear to Be More Susceptible to Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Lung Disease”, “Gender Bias in Diagnosing Fibromyalgia”, “Hospitalizations for HIV/AIDS: Differences Between Sexes”, and “Pattern of Sex Differences in Growth of Saudi Children and Adolescents.” I read one article on shoulder dystocia (ShD). The research concluded that male infants are a risk factor for ShD. The recommendations suggest that if the sex of the baby is known before delivery, women might opt out of vaginal birth. Even after briefly reading the journal the well engineered emphasis on gender became very evident.

For the current issue CLICK HERE.

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Oh Baby

Fact: over 20 different contraceptive methods exist

Definition: “a term used for the prevention of pregnancy, and it is often referred to as birth control”

Contraceptives are probably one of the best examples of gender-specific strategies. Many contraceptive methods are created specifically for both men and women. Two main categories exist: barrier methods and hormonal treatments. Sterilization, natural family planning, withdrawal, and abstinence are among the other types of birth control methods. Below are examples and descriptions of different types of methods.

Male:

Male Condom: a layer, typically latex rubber, placed over the erected penis

Vasectomy: tying or cutting of the tubes through which the sperm travel

Female:

Female Condom: a long polyurethane sheath with two rings place inside the vagina

Diaphragm: a flexible rubber cup placed over the cervix

Cervical Cap: a smaller latex cup placed over the cervix

Birth Control Pills: ingested pills containing hormones

Lunelle: hormones which are injected in the arm, buttock, or thigh

Tubal ligation: tying or closing of the fallopian tubes

The list above is certainly not complete. However the proportion of male to female contraceptives is quite accurate; many more contraceptives exist for females. There is a stronger emphasis on women in this area of health most likely due to the focus on pregnancy. However, consider what the impact might be if men and women were equally targeted for development of contraceptives.

For more information specifically targeting youth GO HERE.

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Head to Head

Fact: 300,000 concussions occur each year in the U.S. during sport-like activities

Definition: “A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function, usually caused by a blow to the head. Concussions can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and coordination.”

Study: from the 2008 American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting at JW Marriott Orland Grande Lakes

Objective: to observe gender-specific differences in the recoveries of soccer player who have suffered from a concussion

Design: soccer was chosen because it is widely played by both genders. Soccer also is a non-helmet sport where concussions are quite frequent.

Procedure: There were 234 participants (61 percent female, 39 percent male). The soccer players were between the ages of 8 to 24. Each was tested post-concussion on attention, memory, and speed and reaction processing time.

Results: During tests of reaction time, females were significantly inferior to males. Females also seem to display more symptoms and had slightly worse verbal memory and processing speed.

Theory: “There’s a theory that males typically have a stronger neck and torso that can handle forces better,” said Dr. Colvin. “But when we accounted for Body Mass Index in this study, we still found a difference between males and females. Therefore, there are differences in recovery between genders that cannot simply be attributed to size difference. More studies are needed to determine the reason for differences in recovery between males and females.”

Conclusion: Gender seems to be a determining factor during the recovery process of soccer players from concussion injuries.

Discussion: Physicians, trainers, and coaches need to be very attentive to individuals when treating concussions. “The results of this study suggest that physicians should not be taking a one-size-fits-all approach to treating concussions,” said co-author Alexis Chiang Colvin, MD, Sports Medicine Fellow for the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Check out another study on gender and concussions HERE.

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Can You Here Me Now?

Fact: 35 million Americans are hearing impaired

Male:

Men are three to five times more likely than women to have hearing loss. This is mostly due to the large proportion of occupational hearing loss cases. In the EU, hearing loss was the most commonly reported occupational disease with 97 percent of cases reported by males.

Female:

Approximately 8 million women have hearing impairment. Generally across all ages, women have better hearing than men at higher frequencies. However, as women get older they have a harder time hearing low frequency noises than men.

Having knowledge about gender-specific health in hearing can deeply affect public health efforts. Specifically in education, teachers and professionals can cater to gender-health needs like the fact that girls and women hear better at higher frequencies. Also people who interact with men who are employed in high noise risk jobs can be aware and act appropriately. This knowledge of gender-specific hearing loss can be applicable in a variety of instances.

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Extra Extra Read All About It!

The Earth Times recently reported on gender specific health. The article began by stating that “research in this area is still in its infancy.” However, it continues to explain that it is progressing and specifically around men’s health.

Women and men are becoming ill in different ways. The first factor is biology; androgens or male hormones play a part in development from the embryonic stage through puberty and beyond. Another factor is social norms. Boys and girls have different upbringings according to gender standards and therefore have different mentalities. This can affect health care. “We like to say that women follow preventative medicine, and men reparative medicine.”  Men and women also have different genetic structures. Women have two X chromosomes and men only have one. This means that the X chromosome can be either twice as likely affective or more severely affected. The article continues to state specific instances of gender specific health like heart disease, psychological disorders, and cancer.

This article is exactly what I have been trying to demonstrate through my blog. I do not want to say that men and women are different because everyone knows that, but that men and women need to be treated specifically. Health is not a one-size-fit-all type of situation. This is not simply in health care, but prevention, programs, implementation, planning, and evaluation  etc (all of the different sectors).

For more information and scholarly research CHECK THIS OUT.

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Beautiful Minds

Fact: schizophrenia affects both men and women in similar proportions

Definition: an illness characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disturbances in thinking and withdrawal from social activity

Although risk rates are comparable gender differences appear in various aspects of schizophrenia.

Men:

Men appear to develop schizophrenia during ages 15 to 25. Men’s symptoms tend to be greater than women’s while they are young, but as they get older their symptoms reduce. Social aspects of the disease are more difficult for men than women. Treatment is hindered by male’s reluctance in accepting the disease and also men show self-neglect, social withdrawal, and substance abuse. The disease may be considered harder for men to cope with because of job, relationship, and social expectations or obligations.

Women:

Women seem to display symptoms during ages 15 to 30 and also after menopause (ages 45 to 50). Initial symptoms are milder than in men, but the likelihood of another series of harsher symptoms later in life is greater.  Female estrogen levels act as a protection against development of schizophrenia. This helps explain why women may experience symptoms during menopause because estrogen levels decrease. Women tend to succeed socially when diagnosed with schizophrenia. Treatment seems to go better because women are more accepting of the disease and will comply with therapy.

My point exactly: this little tidbit is the whole reason I am writing my blog…so PAY ATTENTION!

“According to an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry (2004:161:1324-1333), women may need different doses of antipsychotic medications than men. Although current prescription guidelines do not distinguish between males and females, this article points out that drug metabolism in general can vary based on gender. Moreover, the normal fat ratio of women’s bodies can affect how drugs are distributed to different organs.

With schizophrenia in particular, previous research has indicated a difference in the general disease course between men and women.

The article argues that due to these factors, women may need lower doses than men, particularly during pregnancy. The authors urge health care providers to pay special consideration to the dosing requirements of their female patients.”

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Never, Never, Never Give Up

Fact: 2.1 million American married couples are infertile and 9.3 million Americans are seeking fertility treatments

Definition: the inability to conceive after one month of well-timed, unprotected sexual intercourse or 6 months for couples who have already had a child and women over the age of 35

Statistics: 40% due to male factors, 40% due to female factors, and 20% due to both or unknown

Here are some different causes of infertility:

Male: Generally 1 Type dealing with sperm

Low Sperm Count: less than 20 to 100 million sperm per cubic centimeter

Azospermia: absolute absence of sperm

Varcocele: high temperature close to the sperm that damages development due to varicose veins

Genetic Defects

Blockage: scarring inhibits sperm passage

Undescended testicles

Female: 3 Types tubal, ovarian, and uterine

Tubal:

Scarring of fallopian tubes: scar tissue blocks the egg from entering the uterus

Endometriosis: endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and consistently reacts to the menstrual cycle causing internal bleeding, scarred tissue, inflammation, pain, and bowel problems

Ectopic Pregnancy: eggs that have been fertilized embed in the fallopian tubes

Ovarian:

Anovulation: ovulation is absent or irregular

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: excess male hormones cause anovulation or cysts on the ovaries

Serious illness

Thyroid problems

Emotional stress

Uterine:

Scarring of the cervical canal

Presence of anti sperm antibodies in the cervical mucus

It is important to know the different factors contributing to infertility because of the growing numbers of cases. However, knowing the gender differences can be extremely helpful. From what I have found in my general searches, research and information on female infertility is far more accessible and prevalent, which means male information is lacking or hidden. In order for individuals to properly understand infertility there needs to be equal information available about both genders.

* Much information I received from my Hlth 450 class by Stephanie Fugal…it’s GREAT!

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