There is increasing evidence of gender-related differences in gastric emptying. The purpose of this study was first, to confirm the difference in gastric emptying for both solid and liquid test meals between healthy men and women, and secondly, to investigate the origin of this difference by studying regional gastric emptying and antral motility. A standard gastric emptying test with additional compartmental (proximal and distal) evaluation and dynamic imaging of the antrum was performed in 20 healthy women studied during the first 10 days of the menstrual cycle, and in 31 healthy age-matched men. In concordance with previous reports, women had a longer half-emptying time for solids as compared to men (86. 2+/-5.1 vs 52.2+/-2.9 min, P<0.05). In our observations this seemed to be related to a significantly prolonged lag phase and a significant decrease in terminal slope. Dynamical antral scintigraphy did not show a significant difference. The distribution of the test meal within the stomach (proximal vs distal) showed more early proximal retention in women as compared to men. The terminal slope of the distal stomach was significantly lower in women. We did not observe a significant difference in gastric emptying of the liquid test meal between men and women. Gastric emptying of solids is significantly slower in healthy women as compared to men. These findings emphasise the importance of using different normal values for clinical and research purposes in gastric emptying scintigraphy in men and women. The difference could not be explained by antral motility alone. Increased proximal retention and a lower terminal emptying rate in women are observations to be further investigated.