In almost every disease category, women report more-intense pain than men, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in California say.
Using a database from electronic medical records, Stanford scientists examined more than 160,000 pain scores reported for more than 72,000 adult patients. From these, they extracted cases in which disease-associated pain was first reported, and then divided the findings by disease and gender, the researchers said.
Dr. Atul Butte and colleagues said the medical literature contains numerous reports indicating that women report more pain than men for one or another particular disease, but this study focused on pain intensity, whereas most previous studies have looked at prevalence.
The search identified 47 separate diagnostic categories for which there were more than 40 pain reports for each gender. The sample included more than 11,000 individual adult patients, of which 56 percent were women and 51 percent of them white. The researchers were able to further analyze these 47 categories by condensing them into 16 disease clusters.
"We saw higher pain scores for female patients practically across the board," Butte said in a statement. "Those reported differences were not only statistically significant, but also clinically significant."
The findings are published in the journal Pain.
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