BACKGROUND: Swallowing coordination is affected by cortical and subcortical inputs from the central nervous system. Our hypothesis is that the swallowing dynamics may be influenced by gender.
AIM: To evaluate the influence of gender on water swallowing dynamics.
METHODS: We studied 111 health subjects, 36 men, aged 24-77 years (mean: 46.3 ± 16.1 years) and 75 women, aged 22-75 years (mean: 39.6 ± 13.3 years). All volunteers swallowed in triplicate 50 mL of water at 4ºC while precisely timed, when we measured the time to swallow all the volume and counted the number of swallows. We calculated the inter-swallow interval: the time to complete the task, in seconds, divided by the number of swallows; swallowing velocity: volume drunk (mL) by the time taken (s); swallowing volume capacity: volume drunk (mL) divided by the number of swallows.
RESULTS: Women had a shorter inter-swallow interval, slower swallowing velocity and lower volume capacity than men.
CONCLUSION: Gender has an effect on water swallowing dynamics, with women having a lower swallowing velocity and a lower volume capacity in each swallow than men.