Scientists claim that across a range of conditions, female patients experience more pain than men.
It has long been known that certain pain-related conditions, like fibromyalgia, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome are more common in women than in men.
But new research from Stanford University suggests that even when men and women have the same condition women appear to suffer more from the pain.
The study, published in The Journal of Pain, looked at medical records of 11,000 patients, who had been asked to rate their pain on a scale of 1-10 as part of routine care (0 being no pain at all, 10 being the worst pain imaginable).
Women reported more intense pain than men in 14 of 47 disease categories.
For example, women reported an average score of 6.03 for back pain, and men 5.53. For joint and inflammatory pain women scored 6.00, men 4.93.
In fact, for several conditions women’s average pain score was at least one point higher than men’s, and overall their pain levels were around 20 per cent higher.
Differences were notable in circulation, arthritis, respiratory and digestive problems. There were also issues with bones and muscles, severe nasal problems, neck and joint pain and high blood pressure.
Lead author Dr Atul Butte, chief of systems medicine in the department of paediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, said that the disparity was ‘the most surprising finding’.
He said: ‘We completely wouldn’t have expected such a difference where women were reporting a whole pain point higher on the 0-to-10 scale than men.’
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