What Is Gender Based Medicine?

"If we can think outside the current medical approach and consider women's health as those health issues specific to women such as pregnancy and menopause, men's health as those health issues specific to men such as prostate and testicular cancer, it becomes quickly apparent that the majority of all other health issues are shared by both men and women, or in other words Sex and Gender Health."
-
Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health

Sex and gender should be considered in research, education and community outreach. Why?

four womenResearch:

It doesn't make sense that medical research is performed mostly on males and then are applied to both men and women in the clinical setting. Research should include both men and women in order to ensure discoveries can benefit the entire population, not just half.

Education:

All health professionals, such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists strive to provide the best possible care. In order to achieve this we must educate current and future health providers to consider each patient's uniqueness and that means first and foremost taking into consideration how sex and gender impact health and wellness.

Outreach:

No one would think the ovaries are the same as the testicles so why would this be appropriate for all the other body parts. There is an abundance of research proving that wome's hearts are not the same as men's hearts and a woman's brain is not the same as a man's brain. Community outreach is powerful because it educates and empowers us to take charge of our health. The "one size fits all" model of today's health care needs to change.

Gender differences are the key to bridging the gaps in women's health.

Did You Know?

  • Of the 45 million people who experience chronic headaches, the vast majority are women between the ages of 20 and 45 years old, often juggling a young family, job and other commitments.
  • Imagine that every medicine women take was only studied in males. Even though the medicine prescribed was only studied in males, does it make a difference?
  • Women are 50% more likely than men to have adverse reactions to prescription drugs, yet most drugs do not have different dosages based on a patient's gender.
  • There are 2.4 million bone fractures in the US each year due to osteoporosis. Of these, 80% are women and 20% are men. Yet men are more likely to die after a hip fracture and are less likely to be screened and treated for osteoporosis.
  • Research shows that if men and women drink the same amount of alcohol over a long period of time the women will have more organ damage to their brain, bones, nerves and heart.
  • Medication side effects and adverse events are more common in women because research shows women's bodies break down medications and absorb them differently.
  • Some may think that women are just more difficult to treat or complain more about medication side effects, but in reality eight of the ten drugs pulled from the market had more deaths and side effects in women.
  • Women are:
    • Less likely to be referred for cardiac procedures, more likely to die from a cardiac event
    • For the same type of injuries, less likely to be transported to a Level 1 Trauma Center
    • More likely to experience side effects from similar doses of medication
    • Have devices implanted that have not been proven effective in women
  • Men are:
    • Less likely to undergo treatment for urinary incontinence (No. 2 reason for nursing home placement)

What's the Difference?

  • National clinical guidelines for hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, asthma and many other conditions are based on a majority of research performed in men and applied to women.
  • While women are more likely than men to see a health care provider for wellness exams, men tend to seek medical attention due to acute illness or emergency.
  • Aspirin is more effective at preventing heart attacks in men and preventing strokes in women.
  • Seventy-five percent of people living with autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are women.

  • Cholesterol-lowering medications have been proven less effective in women than men in prevention of a first heart attack.
  • Women can suffer heart attacks and have no evidence of blockage in their arteries on a heart angiogram.
  • Until 1993, FDA regulations prohibited premenopausal women from participating in clinical drug trials.