+
upworthy
Science & Technology

Women experience pain more intensely than men, study finds

Women experience pain more intensely than men, study finds
Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

A recent study conducted by the University of Florida's Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence suggests that we should rethink how women experience pain. Unfortunately, it holds up some other harmful beliefs as well.

In the study, researchers gave men and women the same intensity of pain and asked them to rate the sensation on a scale of one to ten. "On average, women report the same stimuli to be more painful than men," researcher Roger Fillingim told NPR.

The study indicates that men and women might require different treatments for pain, possibly in the form of gendered pain medications."[W]e need to understand what the mechanisms are that are female-specific or male-specific so that we can design more personalized therapies that are going to help reduce pain for women and men in the long run," Fillingim said.

Other studies have backed up Fillingim's findings. A study published in Brain "suggests presence of sex-specific differences and reveals gene modules and signaling pathways in immune response and neuronal plasticity related to radicular/neuropathic pain."


RELATED: What I've learned as a 26-year-old living with chronic pain

Women have historically been left out of pain medication studies. In 2005, Jeffrey Mogil, a professor of pain studies at McGill University, reported that 79 percent of pain studies were conducted using only male animals, and only 4 percent of those studies looked for differences between the sexes. The National Institute of Heath has only been requiring their animal research to involve both male and female animals since 2016.

While the study conducted at the University of Florida asks us to rethink what we know about the way women feel pain, it fails to take into account what actually happens when a woman reports pain. Ample studies have found that women are less likely to be taken seriously when reporting pain, even if they're experiencing the same amount as men.

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that women admitted to the emergency room were less likely to receive treatment for pain, and had to wait 16 minutes longer to receive pain treatment than men, despite having the same pain score.

The National Pain Report conducted an online survey of 2,4000 women with chronic pain. Over 90 percent of respondents said they felt the healthcare system discriminates against women. "There seems to be an 'Oh she's so neurotic' attitude towards female chronic pain patients," said one respondent.

RELATED: You can get rid of a headache in 5 minutes without having to take pills. Here's how.

It's great that researchers are starting to look at the needs of women in a different light, however the study conducted at the University of Florida puts its toe in the water of reinforcing the belief that women are "exaggerating" or "overreacting" to the amount of pain that they are experiencing.

From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web
Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Nazis demanded to know if ‘The Hobbit’ author was Jewish. He responded with a high-class burn.

J.R.R. Tolkien hated Nazi “race doctrine” and no problem telling his German publishing house about it.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler handed the power of Jewish cultural life in Nazi Germany to his chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels established a team of of regulators that would oversee the works of Jewish artists in film, theater, music, fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and the press.

Goebbels' new regulations essentially eliminated Jewish people from participating in mainstream German cultural activities by requiring them to have a license to do so.

This attempt by the Nazis to purge Germany of any culture that wasn't Aryan in origin led to the questioning of artists from outside the country.

Nazi book burning via Wikimedia Commons

In 1938, English author J. R. R. Tolkien and his British publisher, Stanley Unwin, opened talks with Rütten & Loening, a Berlin-based publishing house, about a German translation of his recently-published hit novel, "The Hobbit."

Keep ReadingShow less

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Artists got fed up with these 'anti-homeless spikes.' So they made them a bit more ... comfy.

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

Photo courtesy of CC BY-ND, Immo Klink and Marco Godoy

Spikes line the concrete to prevent sleeping.


These are called "anti-homeless spikes." They're about as friendly as they sound.

As you may have guessed, they're intended to deter people who are homeless from sitting or sleeping on that concrete step. And yeah, they're pretty awful.

The spikes are a prime example of how cities design spaces to keep homeless people away.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

13 comics use 'science' to hilariously illustrate the frustrations of parenting.

"Newton's First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest ... until you need your iPad back."

All images by Jessica Ziegler

Kids grab everywhere.


Norine Dworkin-McDaniel's son came home from school one day talking about Newton's first law of motion.

He had just learned it at school, her son explained as they sat around the dinner table one night. It was the idea that "an object at rest will remain at rest until acted on by an external force."

"It struck me that it sounded an awful lot like him and his video games," she joked.

Keep ReadingShow less

When the attack on Pearl Harbor began, Doris "Dorie" Miller was working laundry duty on the USS West Virginia.

He'd enlisted in the Navy at age 19 to explore life outside of Waco, Texas, and to make some extra money for his family. But the Navy was segregated at the time, so Miller, an African-American, and other sailors of color like him weren't allowed to serve in combat positions. Instead, they worked as cooks, stewards, cabin boys, and mess attendants. They received no weapons training and were prohibited from firing guns.

Keep ReadingShow less