Sex and illness

Sex and illness

A sex-specific illness is an illness that occurs "only" in people of one sex.

In a more general sense, sex-related illnesses are illnesses that are more common to one sex, or which manifest differently in each sex. For example, certain autoimmune diseases may occur predominantly in one sex, for unknown reasons. 90% of primary biliary cirrhosis cases are women, whereas primary sclerosing cholangitis is more common in men.

Neither concept should be confused with sexually transmitted diseases, which are diseases that have a significant probability of transmission through sexual contact.

Sex-related illnesses have various causes:
* Sex-linked genetic illnesses
* Parts of the reproductive system that are specific to one sex
* Social causes that relate to the gender role expected of that sex in a particular society.
* Different levels of reporting or diagnosis in each gender.


Examples of sex-related illnesses in male humans:

* Prostate cancer and other diseases of the male reproductive system occur only in men
* Certain genetic diseases, such as colour blindness, occur more frequently in men. They are caused by sex-linked, recessive genes carried on the non-homologous portion of the X chromosome.
* Autism is 4 times more prevalent in males than females.


Examples of sex-related illnesses in female humans:

* 99% of breast cancer occurs in women
* Ovarian cancer, and other diseases of the female reproductive system occur only in women. endometriosis, another female reproductive disorder occurs almost exclusively in women, but has rarely been found in men undergoing estrogen treatment for prostate cancer.
* More women than men suffer from Sjögren's syndrome, scleroderma, and osteoporosis
* In Western cultures, more women than men suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia
* Women are more likely to suffer from unipolar clinical depression (although bipolar disorder appears to affect both sexes equally)
* Psychologists are more likely to diagnose women than men with borderline or histrionic personality disorder. There is no current agreement on whether this is because of a real underlying difference between the sexes, or simply because of deeply ingrained social attitudes.

See also

*Gender-based medicine

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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