Being a woman just got a little harder. A new study shows that women experience more pain over a lifetime than men and the pain women feel is often more intense and long-lasting. A recent article from CNN discusses what doctors have found and what it means to women.
Though researchers are unsure exactly why women have more recurrent pain and disabilities from pain, one theory has a lot to do with hormones. Jennifer Kelly, from the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine in Georgia, discusses this theory and how the menstrual cycle often has a lot to do with discomfort for women who suffer from recurrent pains. Interestingly, scientists found that a woman’s brain structure actually changes significantly when they suffer from menstrual cramps.
And what could be making pain worse for women is that we tend to focus on the emotional aspects of the pain which could lead to depression. Men have been found to only focus on the sensory issues rather than worrying how the pain may effect their responsibilities like women do.
Since we seem to deal with pain differently, it only makes sense that doctors shouldn’t treat men and women pain sufferers in the same way. Dr. Chaim Putterman, chief of rheumatology at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, discusses why he agress that doctors should consider gender when treating a patient with chronic pain. Dr. Putterman says, “We may be doing our patients a disservice by doing it that way, and perhaps there are gender-specific influences that need to be taken into account that we’re not taking into account.”
What do you think of the new studies showing women suffer from more pain than men?
Do you think doctors should take this into consideration when treating patients?