Scoliosis can be caused by a variety of different factors, but the condition's most common form is idiopathic scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis has no known cause, but it usually develops during adolescence and - interestingly - it is far more common in girls than in boys. Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that scoliosis tends to be more progressive in female patients than in their male counterparts.
 
So why should idiopathic scoliosis affect women more often (and more severely) than it affects men? As with the question of what causes scoliosis in the first place, science has yet to discover a solid answer to this mystery. However, we have seen a number of theories proposed - here's one of the more plausible suggestions:

It may be linked to patients' leptin levels

Leptin is a hormone that performs many different tasks in the human body. One of its best-known functions is appetite suppression; a hormone called ghrelin tells you when you need to eat, and leptin tells you when it's time to stop.
 
However, leptin seems to have many other effects beyond simply making you feel full. The hormone has been shown to affect bone growth in mice via the SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System), and it has been suggested that idiopathic scoliosis in females may occur as a result of "increased SNS activity" that also affects the patient's weight (girls with scoliosis tend to have a fairly low BMI).
 
However, it is important to note that this is merely a hypothesis; as stated above, there is no concrete, scientifically proven explanation for the high incidence of scoliosis in females compared to males. It's equally important to bear in mind that we treat a diverse cross-section of patients here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, and while the majority of our patients are female, we can help men to overcome the effects of scoliosis as well. Kurt, a 29-year-old man who travelled to our clinic from California last year, is a prime example:

 

 
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