Health > Understanding Gender Differences in Parkinson’s Disease
27th Jul 2022
Bridging the Gender Gap in Parkinson Disease

Understanding Gender Differences in Parkinson’s Disease

Both men and women are affected differently by Parkinson’s disease. Women suffer more than men in terms of facing societal challenges. Symptoms and side effects also appear differently in men and women. However, women are less susceptible to suffering from Parkinson’s than men. Women’s issues have mostly been overlooked from a psychological standpoint. Although a number of senior ladies suffer from Parkinson’s, most research is based on men’s issues.


Consequences of Parkinson’s in Women

Different consequences appear in both men and women. To bridge the gap, we must be aware of the differences between genders. Gender differences in terms of Parkinson’s disease have been discussed below:


  • Gender Differences in Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

There are differences in neuropsychiatric symptoms in men and women. Men are more affected by the impairment of memory, language, and attention. It has been reported that cognitive impairment is more common amongst men than women having Parkinson’s.


  • Differences in Physical Disability

Senior ladies functional disadvantage is documented correctly compared to their male peers. It has been found in a study that women with Parkinson’s suffer from more significant disabilities than men. But there are no gender differences in the case of physical fatigue and other physical activities.


  • Differences in Behaviour

According to a study, there have not been found any huge behavioural differences between men and women. The behavioural problems are almost found to be the same in both genders. It has been observed that women do not become abusive, but have depression and stay distressed. There is no difference in the case of having hallucinations. Depression has been considered a side effect in women with Parkinson’s disease. Rapid eye movement behaviour disorder (RBD) is more prevalent in men. During the treatment of Parkinson’s, men receive more antipsychotics, and women receive more antidepressants.


Treatment of Parkinson’s in Women

Medical treatment of Parkinson’s is possible through dopamine agonists, levodopa, anticholinergics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, etc. With the help of surgical treatments, treatment of Parkinson’s disease is possible. There are also gender differences in the treatment, which have been mentioned below:


  • Gender Differences in Medical Treatment

Women develop more levodopa-induced dyskinesias, whereas men’s motor dysfunction is more severe. Women produce more levodopa than men.


  • Gender Differences in Surgical Treatment

Women are less likely to undergo surgical treatment related to Parkinson’s disease cure. Another study found that the women receiving bilateral sub-thalamic deep brain stimulation can perform daily activities without any intervention. Women have better improvement in emotional and social life.


Impact on Social Life

Women with Parkinson’s face more complications in their social lives and their quality of life gets impacted.


  • Complications Faced by the Women in Society

A woman with Parkinson’s faces various challenges related to relationships, abilities, capacity to learn, remember, make decisions, think, etc. Many senior women with Parkinson’s impact their ability to contribute to society. Due to the motor fluctuation in women, quality of life gets disrupted. Functional disability is also more common in women than men. Since depression is more common amongst women, it affects their quality of life. But medical and surgical treatments improve the physical and emotional status of women.


  • Considerations Related to Caregiving

People with Parkinson’s disease suffer from behavioural disturbances and disabilities while carrying out their daily functions. Women are likely to have less cognitive impairment and fewer behaviour disturbances. But their functional ability gets affected. Both men and women with Parkinson’s should have caregivers, as they can help with timely hospitalisation and prevent unwanted situations.

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Both men and women who have Parkinson’s have differences in their symptoms and treatment. Although it has been reported that Parkinson’s is less in women than in men, the risk increases as age increases. However, women suffer from many additional complications in comparison to men. Although women suffer much, the research on men is more emphasised.



What are usually the first signs of Parkinson’s?

The first signs of Parkinson’s are tremors in the hands, stiffness in muscles, slow movement, and difficulty in balance.


What does Parkinson’s do to a person?

Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that causes tremors and stiffness in different body parts.


How long can you live with Parkinson’s?

On average, humans with Parkinson’s die after 16 years after they show the symptoms. Normally patients develop Parkinson’s after 60, and they live for 10 – 20 years more after their initial symptoms.


Can stress cause Parkinson’s?

Yes. According to research, stressful life leads to a higher risk of Parkinson’s.


Who is most likely to have Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s is more common in men than women. However, as the age increases, the risk becomes equally higher in both men and women.