Concussions are serious injuries that occur when the brain is damaged (usually due to an impact). Concussions can affect both men and women, but a study from 2021 found that women may be at an increased risk of having lasting mental and physical symptoms after one.
The study went on to look at 2,000 concussion cases. After looking at the data and the symptoms each person reported a year later, it was determined that women were more likely to still have ongoing, lasting side effects from the injury.
Women are more likely to have lasting symptoms of concussions
Women may continue to have symptoms of a concussion in the long-term, such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fuzzy memory
What’s interesting about this is that women and men didn’t show the same differences in recovery time with other kinds of wounds. Traumatic injuries to other parts of the body generally healed at around the same rate in both sexes.
What makes women heal more slowly?
There wasn’t a simple reason for why women healed more slowly, on average, than men in the study. This study was not the first of its kind to find this information, though.
It is possible that chronic inflammation of the brain, as well as the hormonal fluctuations women go through, could play a role in the slower recovery time. This may be backed up by the fact that women between 35 and 49 had worse symptoms at times when their hormones would be in flux, such as in the approach to menopause. Hormonal assessments may be something that researchers look into in the future, so they can determine if the differences in hormone profiles do play a role in women healing less quickly than men on average.
What does slower healing mean for women?
While many people do recover from brain injuries at a normal, expected rate, some may not. Women may experience skepticism that they are still having symptoms of a concussion months after an injury, but they should know that the studies back up their concerns. Lingering symptoms shouldn’t be dismissed, because these chronic problems could still be linked to a head injury.