What's Gender Got To Do With It?

It turns out that gender has a lot to do with pain. Medical research has identified significant differences between the sexes, both in the likelihood of getting a painful condition and the experience of pain. In her new book A Nation in Pain, health columnist Judy Foreman devotes an entire chapter to the subject of how pain is different for males and females.

Women also report greater pain levels than men with the same condition

Foreman looked into 15 years worth of medical research and found that women are more likely to get a painful condition than men. In 2008, a huge study of more than 85,000 people in 17 countries found that the prevalence of any type of chronic pain condition was 45 percent for women, versus 31 percent for men. Women are more likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neuropathic pain (like complex regional pain syndrome, CRPS), osteoarthritis, jaw pain (like temporomandibular joint disorder, TMD), musculoskeletal pain, and back pain.

Women also report greater pain levels than men with the same condition. A study of 11,000 people, conducted by Stanford University, found that women with musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory, or digestive disorders typically felt more pain than men with the same disorder. But, why?! Science has yet to pinpoint one exact reason for this difference, although various reasons have been explored.

Foreman looked into 15 years worth of medical research and found that women are more likely to get a painful condition than men

For example, Foreman reports that one UCLA study showed differences in brain activity in response to pain, with women having increased activity in the brain’s emotional centers in response to pain, and men having increased activity in the brain’s cognitive, or ‘thinking’ areas. This could explain a stronger emotional response to pain, and therefore a more painful experience overall. Other studies have shown that under-treatment of women’s pain, differences in hormones, and differences in pain receptors in the body that reduce opioid effectiveness in females may all contribute to women feeling more pain.

Regardless of your gender, the doctors at Louisiana Pain Specialists know how to treat your pain. If you are experiencing any type of chronic or acute pain, consider making an appointment with one of the knowledgeable and experienced pain doctors at Louisiana Pain Specialists. Most appointments can be scheduled within a week. Call 504-754-2334 today!

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