- Sex and illness
A sex-specific illness is an
illnessthat 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 cirrhosiscases are women, whereas primary sclerosing cholangitisis 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:
* Parts of the
reproductive systemthat are specific to one sex
* Social causes that relate to the
gender roleexpected 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 cancerand 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, recessivegenes carried on the non-homologous portion of the X chromosome.
Autismis 4 times more prevalent in males than females.
Examples of sex-related illnesses in female humans:
* 99% of
breast canceroccurs 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 nervosaand bulimia
* Women are more likely to suffer from unipolar
clinical depression(although bipolar disorderappears 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.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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