This has been the subject of much debate and research. In general, many people believe that women have a higher threshold for pain because they can endure childbirth. This is true to some extent, because the female body is designed to release certain hormones that act as pain-blockers of sorts during the birthing process, thus diminishing the mother’s perception of the pain.
But overall, studies are finding overwhelming evidence that women do, in fact, experience more pain than men… even if only perceived.
Given that pain is subjective to each individual, it’s difficult to determine whether the pain reported by one research subject is actually greater in intensity than that of another, male or female. However, a common result among many studies has been a significantly higher number of females reporting greater levels of pain than men. The consistency of this difference is enough to indicate that the findings are valid, whether or not one understands the exact reason for the discrepancies.
There are many factors that may contribute to how pain is perceived by women versus men, either physically or psychologically. From a biological standpoint, there are differences between women and men that could account for these findings. For example:
- Women have a greater risk for many chronic pain-causing conditions, particularly during their reproductive years, and therefore report pain with more frequency than men.
- Fluctuating female hormones can amplify the body’s perception of pain. For instance, when estrogen levels are low during the menstrual cycle or after menopause, pain receptor activity is elevated, causing the body to feel more pain.
- Studies have found that the female body has a more intense natural response to painful stimuli, indicating a difference between genders in the way pain systems function.
- A greater nerve density present in women may cause them to feel pain more intensely than men.
From a psychological perspective, it is also known that women and men are ‘wired’ differently, and this may contribute to the perception of pain, however great or slight.
Furthermore, conditions such as anxiety and depression, which are reported in greater numbers in women, may exacerbate the effects of painful conditions, even if the pain itself hasn’t actually intensified.
Some theories even suggest that because women are more mindful of how they feel physically, they may simply notice the pain more than men do.
While studies have not yet pinpointed an exact reason for the contrast between the female and male pain experience, it is apparent that this difference does indeed exist. Every individual — of either sex — perceives and reacts to pain in their own way.
If you find that you’re experiencing pain that inhibits your ability to perform daily activities and robs your quality of life, don’t chalk it up to gender; it is worthwhile to consult with a qualified pain doctor to determine how to reduce or eliminate your pain.
If You’re in Chronic Pain, We Can Help.
At Florida Pain Relief Centers, we take a customized approach to providing individualized care for each of our patients. Our highly skilled, board-certified pain physicians take all aspects of the patient into consideration; gender, age, lifestyle, medical history and more.
Whether you’re a woman in her 40’s or a man in his 60’s, our multidisciplinary methods for diagnosing and treating chronic pain may help to reduce or eliminate your suffering to restore your quality of life.
If you’ve had enough and want to find options for relief from your chronic pain, contact Florida Pain Relief Centers today at 800.215.0029 or visit www.yourpainreliefcenters.com to set up a consultation at one of our clinics.