Article

Gender differences in obsessive-compulsive disorder: A literature review

Department of Psychiatry, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria (Impact Factor: 1.77). 12/2011; 33(4):390-9. DOI: 10.1590/S1516-44462011000400014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous condition, in which subtypes have been proposed. Previous studies suggested that gender plays a relevant role in OCD phenotypic expression. This study aimed to review the literature on gender differences in clinical, genetic or familial aspects of OCD.
A conventional review was conducted, including all papers that investigated demographic, clinical, and genetic aspects of OCD according to gender. The search was based on data available in Medline and PsycINFO databases in the last 20 years, using as keywords: obsessive-compulsive disorder; and: gender, sex, male, female, demographic characteristics, clinical features, clinical characteristics, genetic, genes, genetics gender OCD, genes OCD, genes OCD males, genes OCD females.
Sixty three of 487 phenotypical and genetics studies were selected. Most studies indicate that male patients are more likely than females to be single, present early onset of symptoms and chronic course of the disorder, greater social impairment, more sexual-religious and aggressive symptoms, and greater comorbidity with tic and substance use disorders. Female patients present more contamination/cleaning symptoms and greater comorbidity with eating and impulse-control disorders. Genetic and family studies are inconclusive, but suggest that gender may play a role in the disease expression.
Gender is a relevant factor that should be taken into account when evaluating OCD patients. More studies are necessary to determine whether in fact it defines a homogeneous and particular group in OCD.

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    • "[3,7778798081). One exception to our current recommendation to exclude sex category from analysis might involve studies of brain pathology , in which there are many reports of differences between human females and males (e.g.82838485868788). These differences, which are not categorical (i.e. "

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    • "In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the influence of sex on brain structure and function and consequently , on the susceptibility, prevalence and response to treatment of psychiatric disorders (e.g. Palanza, 2001; Eliot, 2011; Mathis et al., 2011; Mendrek and Stip, 2011; Rasakham and Liu-Chen, 2011; Vega et al., 2011; Cahill, 2006; 2012; Fernandez-Guasti et al., 2012; Franconi et al., 2012; Hasson and Fine, 2012; Jogia et al., 2012; McCarthy et al., 2012; Nolen-Hoeksema, 2012; Simpson and Kelly, 2012; ter Horst et al., 2012; Valentino et al., 2013). Most theories and descriptions of the effects of sex on the brain are dominated by an analogy to the current interpretation of the effects of sex on the reproductive organs (McCarthy and Arnold, 2011; Joel, 2012; 2014). "
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    • "Gender is a relevant factor that should be taken into account when evaluating patients with obsessive symptoms, as a significantly higher frequency of sexual obsessions was observed in males than in females [21]. "
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