We’re not denying that most of us need to use the bathroom more frequently than our partner, but this has more to do with the position of our bladder than its size, says Barnes-Svarney. A woman’s bladder is supported by the front wall of the uterus and vagina, she says, and this wall weakens with age and childbirth, while the way a woman carries excess fat also adds uncomfortable pressure. Men’s bladders, on the other hand, are freer to expand as they fill. However, Barnes-Svarney says, justice comes later in life. An enlarged prostate gland is a benign issue that affects 50 percent of men by age 60, and 90 percent of men by age 85, according to the American Urological Association. When the prostate gets bigger, it presses on the urethra, causing men to feel like they need to use the bathroom immediately—and helping them to finally understand what the women in their lives have been dealing with for all those years.
While women and men have the same basic digestive plumbing (stomach, liver, gallbladder, colon), the lower portion of the colon, called the sigmoid, tends to be longer in women. And of course, women’s lower bodies are practically bulging with reproductive organs. All of this means that women have more stuff squeezed into a smaller space, says Cynthia M. Yoshida, MD, a gastroenterologist and the author of No More Digestive Problems. Our digestive systems don’t have as much room to expand when troubled by excess gas, air or food, says Yoshida, which is why we are likely to experience distress in our midsections. (It’s also another justification for why women deserve more bathrooms, with more privacy.)