Gender-Related Differences in the Clinical Course of Crohn's Disease

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OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to analyze the clinical and epidemiological differences between women and men affected by Crohn's disease.METHODS:The clinical course of 275 female Crohn's disease patients was compared with that of 266 male patients.RESULTS:Mean age at onset of symptoms and at diagnosis was 25.7 yr versus 27.7 yr and 28.8 yr versus 30.7 yr in women and men, respectively. Mean lag-time between onset of symptoms and establishment of the diagnosis were similar in both groups, without differences in presenting symptoms and initial localization of lesions. In women, however, some extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn's disease were found to occur more often. The percentage of patients who underwent an abdominal operation was quite similar in both groups (81% vs 77%). Mean lag-time between onset of symptoms and first bowel resection was not different. However, the lag-time between bowel resection and recurrence of disease was significantly shorter in women than in men (respectively, 4.8 yr vs 6.5 yr, p = 0.04), particularly regarding primary ileocecal resections. Overall, ileocecal resections were significantly more frequently performed in female than male patients (44% and 32%, respectively, p = 0.004). Female patients were also found to have significantly more often relatives in the first or second degree affected by Crohn's disease than male patients (15% vs 8.3%, p = 0.02).CONCLUSIONS:Extraintestinal manifestations occur more often in female Crohn's disease patients than in male patients. Furthermore, an ileocecal resection, which is accompanied by an earlier recurrence, is more often performed in female than in male patients. Female patients have more often relatives with the same disease.

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