Call Our HELPLINE: 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636)

Addressing Women's Needs

Why is the Parkinson’s Foundation looking at the specific needs of women? Men and women experience Parkinson’s disease (PD) differently, as it relates to their symptoms, medications, medical care and support services.

Research shows differences and disparities including:

  • Women have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.
  • There may be sex differences in PD symptoms, but the data are inconsistent.
  • Small changes in medications or schedule can cause women to experience big changes in their symptoms, with dyskinesias being the most frequently reported side effect.
  • Despite greater reported improvements to quality of life than men, women are less likely to receive deep brain stimulation (DBS) A surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease. A special wire (lead) is inserted into a specific area of the brain responsible for movement. The lead is connected to a pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest region. This device creates electrical pulses, sent through the lead, which “stimulate” the brain and control abnormal brain cell activity..  
  • Women are less likely than men to be cared for by a PD specialist, neurologist or  movement disorder specialist A neurologist with extra training (usually a one- or two-year fellowship) in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.
  • Women with PD are accessing medical care for their Parkinson’s less than men.

After identifying significant gender differences in Parkinson’s treatment and care, as well as the lack of any coordinated effort to address them, in 2013, the Parkinson’s Foundation filled the gap with the creation of the Women and PD Initiative. We are shedding light on and finding solutions for women-specific issues to help improve the health and well-being of women with PD.

If you would like to learn more about this initiative, contact the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or

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