Women Beat Men When It Comes to Recovering After Trauma — But Why?

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In cases of severe trauma — falls, accidents, assaults — women tend to have higher survival rates than men. The authors of an 11-year-long study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine theorized that the female hormone estrogen might be a primary contributing factor to post-trauma survival in women, but their research excluded estrogen as a possible cause.

The Swedish researchers found that women had a lower mortality rate than men in the 30 days after hospitalization for traumatic injuries. But they found no significant fluctuations in survival patterns during the three periods of life when a woman’s estrogen production differs — from birth to puberty, during the reproductive years, and after menopause. Between ages 15 and 50, when sex hormone production is highest, the survival advantage wasn’t more pronounced than in other age groups.

In another study published in the same journal, researchers found that men are more likely than women to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) after trauma. This study, involving nearly 7,000 Dutch patients initially treated for traumatic injuries in an emergency room, also failed to provide a clear explanation for women’s survival advantage.