The GI Gender Divide Part II: Men's Digestive Health

By: Patrick Volak, M.D.


There are times when it is important to acknowledge the differences between men and women. The female and male digestive systems are one example, understanding those differences is essential for managing optimal GI health.

The Male Digestive System

Three Things to Know about the Male Digestive System:

  • A man’s digestive system is far less complex and confined, only sharing space with his prostate and bladder.
  • The male digestive system is free from the influence of monthly hormonal fluctuations or pregnancy, which means bloating and fluid retention a less of a risk.
  • Men have a shorter digestive tract, which leads to shorter digestion times.

It’s much easier for men to maintain the muscles that aid digestion, therefore men have a lower incidence of IBS. However, men do have a slightly higher rate of colon cancer (4.7% vs. women’s 4.4%) and tend to have a higher incidence of polyps at a younger age than women. That means men need to book a screening colonoscopy as soon as it is due at age 45.

Men are also more frequently diagnosed with serious conditions related to GERD, but less likely to seek help for its symptoms, such as heartburn and acid reflux. The lack of symptom reporting may be the reason behind this gender difference, as many men miss out on early prevention and treatment opportunities. Women may also benefit from estrogen’s potential protection against some cancer types and their response to protective proteins.

Higher testosterone levels make men prone to gaining abdominal weight, putting men at higher risk of serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Nutrition Tips

Eat more:

  • fruits and vegetables (raw and cooked), ensuring variety
  • fiber-rich whole grains
  • lean animal proteins and/or plant-based proteins


  • Sugars
  • Excess saturated fats
  • Low-nutrient starchy foods
  • Artificial ingredients

Getting Great GI Healthcare

Whatever your gender, you want the best GI care. Tulsa Endoscopy Center is a safety-certified facility, staffed by some of Tulsa’s leading board certified gastroenterologists and a medical team that specializes in gastrointestinal health and colonoscopies. Get top-level care from expert physicians that will fit your budget, plus the comfort and convenience of accessible parking and convenient curbside patient drop-off and pick-up.

Visit our website to learn more or to schedule an appointment. Alternatively, call us to talk to our helpful team.