Women Feel More Pain Than Men Do

The long-held notion that women have a higher tolerance for pain than men do has been upended by a Stanford University study released on Monday, January 23rd 2012. The report, published in The Journal of Pain, was based on electronic medical records of more than 11,000 adult patients at Stanford hospitals and clinics.

According to MercuryNews.com, Jeffrey Mogil, a pain expert at McGill University in Montreal who was not involved in the study, said: "What this paper does above and beyond what came before is a matter of sheer size. In my mind, it puts the story to bed forever."

Atul Butte, M.D., one of the authors of the Stanford study, told MercuryNews.com that the findings indicate that health care workers need to take a patient's gender into account when considering types and dosages of pain medication.

Patients in the study rated their pain during medical exams from zero ("no pain") to 10 ("worst pain imaginable"). The researchers pinpointed a number of conditions including back pain, sinus problems, and arthritis for which women reported greater discomfort than men did.

The authors of the study acknowledge that the results are based on subjective accounts by the patients, but they maintain that the conclusions are important because the next task will be to learn whether or not men and women respond differently to pain medications. If so, pain management could become gender specific and therefore more effectrive. 

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