Did you know that every cell in the human body has sex? And this is why women and men are fundamentally different even in the progression of diseases, its diagnosis, and treatment.

From cardiovascular diseases to Alzheimer’s and Lung cancer, the experience of illness is different between men and women. Unfortunately, today’s modern medicine and research overlook gender differences when it comes to treating a particular disease. Read on to know more about how the health differences between men and women can impact the treatment of diseases.

Every Cell Has a Sex

The XX and XY chromosomes in the cell cause intrinsic biochemical differences that impact tissues and organs across the body independent of sex hormones. This is why every medical practitioner needs to understand these differences so that they can properly treat their patients.

However, women are not included in clinical trials with greater numbers in a way that we can understand the prevalence and impact of disease in women. This means that clinical practices including treatment guidelines and prescription dosages are based largely from a male physiological perspective.

Differentiation in Men and Women Healthcare

Take heart disease for example. The clinical approach of treating heart disease between women and men should be different as often the gold standard treatment of heart disease does not work in a majority of cases for women.

A question for all of us to ponder on – are we really doing women-centric researches to understand the efficacy of treatments predominantly dictated by men’s physiology?

A landmark study that was published two years ago asked the very important question: What are the most effective treatments for heart disease in women? The authors looked at papers written over a 10-year period, and hundreds had to be thrown out. This is because even though women were included in those papers, the final analysis rarely differentiated women and men.

Depression in Women

Today we know that women are 70% more likely to experience depression than women. Why? Because of the psychological differences in the women’s brain and men’s brain, especially in the areas connected to their mood.

When women and men were put under an MRI scanner with exposure to stress, they tend to respond differently. Therefore it’s findings like these that will hold clues to giving the right treatment according to the individual’s body and mind composition.

Women and Lung Cancer

Another startling statistic is that women who are non-smokers are three times more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer than men who are non-smokers. Surprisingly though, women with lung cancer also have better survival rates than men.

This is because of certain genes found in lung tumors that are over-expressed in women at certain times and improves survival chances in young women. This was a very rare early finding. It’s findings like these that will go a long way to provide an opportunity to look at treatment perspectives differently for men and women.

What was implemented in these lung cancer trails, if implemented in all facets of health could lead to a more personalized treatment approach in conventional medicinal practice?

Why Leave Women’s Health to Chance?

Women’s health is akin to an equal rights issue and as important as advocating equal pay at the workplace. Now that we know that every cell has a sex, why are we still overlooking the differences? Just imagine the implications of advancing women’s health if these fundamental sexual differences were understood better from a disease perspective.

Therefore, for starters, Here’s what you can do. Each and every individual is different so one standard of treatment should not be randomly followed, especially, if it’s not working for you. It is important to ask your physician whether “this disease or treatment is different in women”.

At least if you put up this question this will have your doctors thinking and probably even looking for some answers. We already know why sexual differences occur and it’s about time to use that knowledge to improve the health of women for generations to come.

It’s time that women’s health should not be left to chance and there needs to be a radical shift in treating the individual and not treating a disease alone. Probably traditional medicinal practices of Ayurveda and Siddha can throw some light in this regard. Since they focus on the individual body composition and account for all the differences, a more holistic approach is the need of the hour in conventional medicine.

Stay Young through the Decades : A Nutrition Guide for Women  


Learn all about the Health Risks of Early Menopause