Women and Concussion

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There has been some consideration in medical circles lately that men and women suffer concussions symptoms differently. Women have often been ignored in concussion research until lately since their concussions were not sustained in the same ways as men’s ones historically.

The facts show that females suffer more concussions then males, have more severe symptoms, and are slower to recover. The reasons for this aren’t clear but a new women’s advocacy group Pink Concussions has raised awareness and research funding towards determining the answers. We know that women have much higher rates of concussion than their male counterparts in similar sports, with almost double the rate in soccer, and more than triple the rates in baseball and basketball. These are stunning differences.

Women with concussion tend to report higher rates of sensitivity to light, and noise, and have greater rates of nausea and drowsiness than men. It appears that women are also slower to return to normal activity than their male counterparts. Interestingly the differences disappear after the onset of menopause according to research. This questions the role of hormones in concussion. Jeffrey Bazarian, a neurologist at University of Rochester has also determined that women injured in the last two weeks of their menstrual cycle have greater brain injuries than those injured in the first two weeks of their cycles. He suggests that this may have to do with the hormonal ratios throughout a women cycle.

Pink Concussions was established by concussion sufferer Katherine Snedaker  to “to continue changing how the medical providers, families, schools and the workplace educate and care for females with #pinkTBI.” They have worked diligently over the last three years to raise awareness and funding in the topics of female brain injury management and causation.

The research to date has indicated that men and women who receive treatment for concussion have similar cognitive outcomes following their concussions, with the exception of visual memory. In mild TBI and concussion women performed significantly better in testing than men. There is continued research being done in that field.