Genders Experience Pain Differently and Women Have It More

More women than men suffer from pain, and the suffering usually takes longer for women. According to experts the sensation of pain depends on a number of factors including our age, our current hormone level, and even the place where we actually live. Although the perception of pain is highly subjective, it is a universal element of the human experience. Everyone, at some point in their lives, experiences pain in one form or another.

Women are more tolerant of pain

Women are not just more exposed to pain, but they experience pain more times during their life (just think of menstrual cramps or childbirth). These may culminate in severe stress situations or other irreversible effects.

If the pain lasts longer than six months, we call it chronic pain. Researches have shown that it can be linked to several diseases like migraine, rheumatoid arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome. These are definitely more common in women than men.

Headaches and hormones

The hormone that controls women’s monthly cycle, estrogen, gets a lot of attention in women’s lives, but it is actually a hormone that affects both men and women. Estrogen also plays an important role in determining how sensitive a person is to pain. When our body makes too much or too little estrogen, it can create problems.

Until puberty, migraine affects both sexes equally. After the menarche there is an increasing prevalence of migraine in women. This is why migraine is considered to be a predominantly female disorder.

A decline in estrogen levels is an important factor in triggering migraine in women, but researchers believe that it might be the reason behind the lack of sexual desire, painful intercourse and many other menopausal symptoms as well.

Several studies have shown that men and women respond differently to analgesic tablets. It can be explained by genetic and hormonal differences, in addition to social and psychological factors. While women concentrate on the emotional side of pain, men tend to focus on pain sensation itself. This is why women’s perception of pain is much more intense and linked to negative emotions.

Everybody hurts, but pain is not the same

Researchers believe that Nordic people have higher pain tolerance due to cultural peculiarities, different upbringing and the tendency to have an introverted type of personality. During their childhood they learn and experience that feelings are rarely shared with others, and they don’t speak about their pain accordingly. On the contrary, Mediterranean people are generally described as extroverts, outgoing and socially interactive. They often feel the need to give voice to their physical and mental pain.

Does it really hurt?

Pain is the most complex psychosomatic experience. The subjective nature of pain can be justified by its most common symptom: the headache. Researches have shown that only 5% of headaches can be traced back to organic causes, such as blood pressure fluctuations, metabolic problems or calcification of the cervical vertebrae. 95% of headaches are typically psychosomatic in nature that is, psychological issues are hiding in the background. According to experts, such headaches are typically caused by suppressed aggressive impulses, anxiety or depression.

In addition to the well-known pain relief techniques, there are an increasing number of alternative therapies, such as physiotherapy,pilates or acupuncture.Massage can trigger an endorphin release that raises the threshold for pain. In case of chronic conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia or migraines, massage therapy may be a helpful aid in managing pain. Receiving regular therapeutic massage reduces pain, anxiety, depression and encourages relaxation.

At Physio Medicine, our professional therapists will work with you to create a wellness plan that can help you address your gender specific pain. Let us ease your pain.