Women report feeling more pain than men
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|Thu, 01-26-2012 - 5:22pm|
Women feel pain more intensely than men, according to a new study of 11,000 men and women who were patients at the Stanford Hospital and Clinics.
Researchers analyzed electronic medical records of patients’ reports of pain across a range of different diseases, and found a distinct gender-driven difference in how much discomfort patients say they felt.
The study, published Monday in The Journal of Pain, analyzes data from the electronic medical records of 11,000 patients whose pain scores were recorded as a routine part of their care. (To obtain pain scores, doctors ask patients to describe their pain on a scale from 0, for no pain, to 10, “worst pain imaginable.”)
For 21 of 22 ailments with sample sizes large enough to make a meaningful comparison, the researchers found that women reported higher levels of pain than men. For back pain, women reported a score of 6.03, men 5.53. For joint and inflammatory pain, it was women 6.00, men 4.93. Women reported significantly higher pain levels with diabetes, hypertension, ankle injuries and even sinus infections.
For several diagnoses, women’s average pain score was at least one point higher than men’s, which is considered a clinically meaningful difference. Over all, their pain levels were about 20 percent higher than men’s.
Of course, self-reports can’t account for the fact that people may define tolerable and intolerable pain in vastly different ways, but the fact that a gender difference emerged from such a large number of patients suggests that the effect is real.
Read full reports at Time.com and NYTimes.com: