Is the Severity of a Concussion Linked to Gender?

Blog-Women & Concussions Why are Concussions More Prominent in Women

Research on the nature of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions continues to expand and advance.

One area of focus is the role gender plays in head trauma. While it’s long been maintained that males are at a higher risk for head trauma (due to violent sports like football), new research is painting a different picture of the concussion landscape.

Women and Concussion

According to the CDC, emergency room visits related to TBIs and concussions among women doubled between 2001 and 2010. These incidents were the result of a variety of head traumas, including: falls, car accidents, assaults, and sports injuries.

Research has shown that women are more prone to concussion, even when playing the same sports as men. When women experience a concussion, their symptoms can be more severe, and the recovery process even longer than with similarly affected men. Concussed women also exhibit symptoms that are dramatically more conspicuous, such as trouble with balance, loss of consciousness and migraines.

Explanations from the Experts

According to a recent Penn Study, one of the reasons why women are more susceptible to concussions than men is that they have smaller, more breakable nerve fibers. In tests that simulated the effects of a TBI, female axons were found to be more likely to break than male axons when the same amount of force was applied. For this reason, it’s believed that women have an increased risk of concussion and have worse outcomes than men.

Another possible explanation for why it takes longer for women to heal from concussions involves the hormone progesterone. Production of progesterone, which supports brain cell growth and aids in keeping the brain calm, drops significantly when a brain injury is sustained. Depleted levels of progesterone can intensify concussion symptoms and extend the recovery period. Other research indicates that the point at which a concussion occurs during a woman’s menstrual cycle can determine the severity of the symptoms.

Know the Warning Signs

While some people display warning signs immediately following a TBI, others don’t develop symptoms until weeks or even months later. The result of this delay is that the underlying cause of the symptoms is often forgotten. Here are some of the most common symptoms of mild to moderate TBIs and concussions:

• Confusion
• Difficulty with concentration and paying attention
• Memory problems
• Difficulty with word finding
• Mental and/or physical fatigue
• Sleep problems
• Sensitivity to noise and/or light
• Moodiness
• Anger outbursts
• Increased anxiety
• Social isolation
• Vision problems
• Balance problems
• Nausea

The Silent Epidemic

The World Health Organization ranks TBI as the leading cause of both disability and mortality in individuals under the age of 45. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million new TBIs are reported each year in the United States due to falls, accidents, and concussions. Millions of others go unnoticed, leading to what many researchers have called the “silent epidemic.”

Brain injuries that don’t result in a loss of consciousness are frequently ignored and are never diagnosed or treated. Any head injury, even a seemingly innocuous bump on the head, may come with extreme long-term health consequences, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

If you or a family member have suffered a concussion or TBI, use these 3 strategies to protect and preserve your brain:

Safety Tips

Though certainly not an exhaustive list, applying these common safety tips can help safeguard your brain from a concussion or TBI:

• Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a vehicle.
• Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that can impair the ability to drive.
• Install handrails on all stairways in your home.
• Avoid high risk sports and activities where you can hit your head.
• When working out, do exercises that strengthen your neck.
• Use a step stool with a grab bar to reach objects on high shelves.
• Always wear a helmet, and make sure your children wear helmets, during contact sports, bike riding, horseback riding, skateboarding, snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding.
• Don’t dive in water less than 12 feet deep or in above-ground pools. Measure the depth and check for debris in the water before diving.
• Don’t text and walk/drive.

Ask the Right Questions

All too often, concussions aren’t taken seriously unless a person has noticeable symptoms right after the head injury occurs. However, every brain injury is significant – even sub-concussive events. If you don’t already have a set of questions for assessing a head injury, use this list.

Take a Look

How can you really know if you have a head injury unless you get an image of your brain? Brain SPECT imaging is the best tool for determining if your brain has suffered functional damage from a concussion or TBI.

Brain SPECT imaging can:

• Help identify if there has been brain trauma
• Show brain blood flow deficits NOT visible in anatomical studies, such as CT or MRI
• Identify affected brain systems
• Help determine if there could be co-occurring conditions that need treatment
• Increase treatment compliance by showing pictures of results
• Provide scientific documentation that may help with special services or legal issues

Our Full Evaluation includes two SPECT images (concentrating and resting states), a detailed clinical history, neuropsychological testing and comprehensive evaluation with one of our doctors to target treatment specifically to your brain, using the least toxic, most effective means.

If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion or TBI and are experiencing anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviors, or memory loss, call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.


  1. Could a bad fall that resulted in a concussion and loss of consciousness lead to more falls over a period of 24 months? Could repeated falls and hitting the head lead to a stroke?

    Comment by vibert — November 18, 2016 @ 9:09 PM

  2. I was at a friends and upon leaving the apt bldg, we found the paramedics tending to an elderly lady (Upper 80’s ish). She had fainted and fell and struck her head causing a gash which was bleeding. Apparently she has fainted and fallen before. Could she develop symptoms of CTE as well? How does this advanced age augment these injuries? Thank you.

    Comment by Gilberto Guerra — November 19, 2016 @ 10:01 PM

  3. I can personally attest to how multiple concussions multiply in effect and how they can last over a decade. I’ve had HBOT treatments with Dr Paul Harch in NOLA and they are working for me to heal and recover. Period. When nothing else has. I was in the LSU TBI Study and it was well worth my effort and time to come up with the funds needed to travel and stay in NOLA for the duration of the time periods I needed to be there to participate in the study as scheduled. And it’s been an amazing journey. If you know anyone that has the health conditions that Juliette listed below, make sure to refer them to this study.

    If you want to learn more about HBOT treatments, go to

    I actually found out about HBOT when I contacted the CA Amen Clinic back in 2014 and from there I researched and found Dr Paul Harch in NOLA and his study.

    Comment by Mary Beth Underwood — December 20, 2016 @ 12:34 PM

  4. I had a TBI back in 2014 due to a major car accident. I’m better than what I was in the first year of recovery but I’m not the same person as a result of the trauma. My personality has changed and I don’t function as well as I used to. I know that I could use help and read about your diagnosis and treatment approach and wish I could afford to be seen at your clinic. It’s a shame that the Amen Clinic services are out of reach of the average American.

    Comment by Tricia — May 14, 2018 @ 3:00 AM

  5. Can a severe concussion cause daily anxiety and fatigue? The anxiety is the worst and doesn’t seem to go away and probably causes the fatigue but i’ve tried everything to get rid of the anxiety but nothing has helped so far. No one has been able to help me. Also, stress is magnified and puts me in bed for days and all these things began after my concussion. Have you ever heard of this? Would it help me?

    Comment by jennifer williams — May 14, 2018 @ 5:09 AM

  6. IF Amen was for real – he wouldn’t be running these hard core money grabbing fraud clinics that feed on their ignorant victims – of which my poor wife is chief. Consider one of Amen’s victims – pastor our local mega church – Saddleback. They let this shill Amen broadcast his vitamin-hawking infomercials at the church – even as pastors son commits suicide. So much for Amen crockery. In stead of his snake oil – he ought to refund the 5 figure costs when his holistic baloney fails. At least we’d still have something for retirement – as he laughs from his Hills top multi-million $ palace overlooking the pacific. Contrast Amen against our neighbor-physician – who built a hospital in impoverished India – living a moderate life style. Amen needs to come clean.

    Comment by Shminowitz — May 14, 2018 @ 6:58 AM

  7. Hello Jennifer, thank you for reaching out and sharing with us. We will have a Care Coordinator reach out to you via email, if you’d like to reach us please call 888-288-9834.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — May 14, 2018 @ 7:50 AM

  8. What do you have to do to be accepted to try the oxygen therapy? I had a brain injury about 8 years ago from a fall and hae never completely recovered. If I move my head in any quick jerk I get an immediate head ache and my reflexes have never returned to normal in the top of my body but are at about 75 percent. I don’t drag my right leg any longer but still have hyperintensity in the left lobe in MRI which they say is benign but I think it makes me get mentally tired sooner than a normal person.

    Let me know any info,
    Kimberly meyer

    Comment by Kimberly Meyer — May 15, 2018 @ 7:16 AM

  9. Would using progesterone help with the healing process. I have had a concussion for almost 5 months and seem to be recovering very slowly.

    Comment by Linda M Bryan — September 17, 2018 @ 9:57 AM

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