17 Diseases More Common in Men Than in Women
Parkinson's disease, ALS, and almost every type of cancer are seen more often in men than in women.
There are acute differences between men and women—and disease is no exception. In fact, if you take a holistic view of who's afflicted with what, you'll find that some illnesses affect far more men than women. Case in point: Men are more likely to be diagnosed with nearly every type of cancer (with breast cancer being an exception). Just being a man can be a significant predictor of what your medical future holds in store. Here are just some of the diseases that are more commonly seen in men than in women.
As it turns out, women actually do possess a prostate, referred to in female anatomy as the Skene's glands. However, it is extremely rare for women to develop cancer there.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that approximately 101 men per every 100,000 were diagnosed with prostate cancer; meanwhile, there weren't even enough female cases to contribute to the data set.
Cirrhosis, a disease that occurs when the liver is exposed to heavy amounts of toxins, is much more likely to happen to men. This disease is more frequent in men because, according to the CDC, men are twice as likely to binge on alcohol.
Alcohol Use Disorder
According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, of the 15.1 million people diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in 2015, 9.8 million were men and only 5.3 million were women. Aside from gender, other risk factors for this disease include genetics and environmental factors like poverty.
With Parkinson's disease, the brain becomes progressively more damaged over the years, causing the body to shake uncontrollably and leaving the muscles slow and stiff. And men are especially susceptible: In one 2004 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, researchers found that men were 1.5 times more likely than women to develop Parkinson's disease.
Men are much more likely to be diagnosed with autism in their lifetime. According to the CDC, men have a 1-in-54 chance of developing autism spectrum disorders, while women have a 1-in-252 chance.
It's unclear why the condition occurs more frequently in men than in women, but certain experts suggest that women are simply better at handling the symptoms and are therefore less likely to receive a firm diagnosis. Another likely cause of the condition's affinity for men is the fact that women seem less affected by the genetic mutation that causes the disorder.
Though women are more likely to develop melanoma before the age of 50, things begin to shift in those later years, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In fact, they shift so much that, by the age of 65, men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with melanoma.
Furthermore, when men are diagnosed, it is likely to be more serious. Many scientists speculate that this gender gap could simply be blamed on the fact that women are much more careful with their skin than men, though some scientists believe that a man's skin is actually more vulnerable to the sun that a woman's.
Though it's unclear why, men—especially those of African American descent—are much more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer, according to the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund. Aside from this gender difference, patients are at a higher risk of getting colon cancer if someone in their family was afflicted by it, if they smoke, if they have a poor diet, or if they generally engage in a series of unhealthy habits.
Similar to colon cancer, men—specifically black men—are far more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, notes the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of pancreatic cancer, with an estimated one in four cases directly caused by the habit. Since men are more likely to smoke cigarettes, it makes sense that they would be at a greater risk of developing the cancer.
Due to possible exposure to harmful chemicals in the workplace and an increased likelihood of smoking cigarettes, men are twice as likely to receive a kidney cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. If you begin to notice any blood in your urine, sudden spats of lower back pain, a fever, unintentional weight loss, or extreme fatigue, it might be time to pay your doctor a visit.
Oral Cavity Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, men are more than twice as likely to develop oral cavity cancer. This is mostly due to the fact that men are also more prone to excessive drinking and smoking, both of which are leading causes of the disease.
In 2017, the CDC notes that men made up 81 percent of the nearly 39,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States. What's more, approximately 86 percent of newly infected men were either gay or bisexual.
You're at a greater risk of getting athlete's foot if you're male, according to the Mayo Clinic. And while the spread of bacteria that causes fungus on your feet is generally harmless, it can pose a greater risk if and when it makes it to your hands, nails, or groin area, as these areas are more resistant to treatment.
This kind of hernia occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in your abdominal wall, causing a very painful bulge near your groin. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, men are eight to ten times more likely to develop inguinal hernias than women.
Gout, a type of arthritis caused by an overabundance of uric acid in the body, can cause sufferers to feel sharp, needle-like pain in their joints. And, since women's bodies contain less uric acid, they are less likely to be plagued with the disease, says the Mayo Clinic.
Your body's levels of uric acid can be multiplied when you consume red meat, shellfish, sugary beverages, and alcohol, so steering clear of those products can help you avoid the pain of gout.
When a bulge occurs in your aorta—the main artery supplying blood from your heart to the rest of your body—it results in an aneurysm. This bulge can prove to be fatal when it breaks or ruptures, as it causes a bleed inside of your body, says the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. While it is more common for men, other risk factors for developing aortic aneurysms include smoking, old age, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis, or a hardening of the arteries.
ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, occurs when the nerves in the brain and spinal cord slowly deteriorate, causing sufferers to lose control over their muscles. According to the ALS Association, ALS is 20 percent more common in men—like physicist Stephen Hawking—than in women, though it isn't known why.
Bladder stones develop when the minerals in your urine crystallize and turn into hard masses that are painful to pass. And unfortunately, the Mayo Clinic notes that men—especially those 50 and older—are more likely to have bladder stones, seeing as they're commonly caused by an enlarged prostate.