Women and Pain: 10 Ways It Really Is Different

You're more likely to have chronic pain but you can handle it better than men, research shows (11 Photos)

Stacey Colino on May 11, 2012 at 4:54PM

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Women and Pain: 10 Ways It Really Is Different

Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc / Blend Images / Getty Images

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It's Not Just Reproductive Pain That Affects Women More

Fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraines and some auto-immune diseases are also more common among women than men. Likely reasons include genetic and biologic differences such as gender variations in anatomy, immune function and neurological function. “Pain is inherently multidimensional. There’s a sensory piece involving activation of the nervous system, an affective piece with an emotional component and a cognitive piece involving a set of beliefs and thoughts about what pain is from and what you think will happen as a result of it,” Dr. Portenoy explains. Women’s bodies and brains have different ways of handling these components, which can increase susceptibility to chronic pain disorders.

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