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Women Feel More Pain

- Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The newly released study in the Journal of Pain found that when asked to rate their pain on a scale of 0 to 10 - 0 being no pain, and 10 being the worst pain - women on average scored their pain 20% more intense than men.

The results held from back pain and neck pain, digestive disorders, sinus infections, and even ankle strains and sprains. In almost every category, women reported more pain than men.

The overall results tended to confirm the fact that women with fibromyalgia or migraines report more pain than men with those conditions. But the study also identified previously undocumented gender differences. For example, pain intensity among patients with acute sinusitis or neck pain is greater in women than in men.

According to the results of the study women experience more intense pain than men. The fact that women report more pain overall doesn't necessarily mean they have more or less tolerance to pain than men.

There are numerous studies showing that women report more pain than men for a number of diseases. The study doesn't explain the reason for the difference, and it could include social, psychological or biological factors. For example, men may be more reluctant to confess intense pain to a female nurse. Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and anxiety, two psychological conditions that can increase susceptibility to pain.

For the study, the researchers analyzed electronic medical records to examine more than 160,000 pain scores reported for more than 72,000 adult patients. The results showed higher pain scores for women in virtually every disease category. The differences were both statistically and clinically significant.

There certainly are differences in pain among men and women. But this study focused on pain intensity, most previous studies looked at the prevalence: the percentage of men versus women with a particular clinical problem who are in pain.

Information from USA Today and SF Gate

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