Women Feel Pain More Than Men
Do women feel pain more strongly than men? In a provocative new survey, scientists say the answer is: Yes.
In what is being described as the largest study comparing pain perception in the sexes, Stanford researchers have concluded women tend to report greater amounts of pain in a variety of diagnoses than men.
The study, published in the Journal of Pain, was based on an examination of electronic medical records for more than 11,000 California patients.
One explanation for the difference: Women may be more vocal and candid about the pain they experience than men, the researchers said. But other biological differences may also account for the differences – including hormones, genetics or psychological issues.
Researchers tracked reports of “pain scores” recorded as part of the patients’ routine medical care. On average, women reported experiencing pain one point higher than men on an 11-point scale.
Researchers found the greatest differences in patients with musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and digestive system disorders. There were also sex-specific differences in the intensiveness of pain in disorders of the cervical region and acute sinusitis.
Researchers said the new findings suggest health care workers take a patient's sex into account when prescribing pain medications.