herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

It's women who feel more pain - experts

IT is a myth that men feel pain more keenly than women, according to the largest study into the subject of its kind.

While it is sometimes said men can't take pain as well as women, because they don't go through childbirth, researchers found that not to be the case.

When they looked at the pain scores of more than 72,000 patients, across 47 common health problems, they discovered that on average women reported feeling more pain in 39 of them.



STUDY

Atul Butte from Stanford University in the US, the senior author of the study, said: "We saw higher pain scores for female patients practically across the board.

"In many cases, the reported difference approached a full point on the one-to-10 scale."

Explaining how big a difference that was, he said: "A pain-score improvement of one point is what clinical researchers view as indicating that a pain medication is working."

The biggest differences were in problems with joints, digestion, circulation and breathing disorders. This report also found women reported worse migraines and neck pain, something previous studies have not identified.

If women did commonly experience more pain than men that could be a lesson doctors needed to take on board, said Butte and his colleagues in the report, published in the Journal of Pain.

"Our data support the idea that sex differences exist, and they indicate that clinicians should pay increased attention to this idea," they wrote.

However, pain experts are still not sure that women do actually experience more pain.

hnews@herald.ie

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