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Do women feel more pain than men? They think they do, says study

Guys, women feel your pain – and then some.

Women report they feel pain more intensely than men, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Their study, published online in the Journal of Pain, examined the pain scores from the medical records of more than 11,000 adult patients with various ailment, of which 56 per cent were women. Pain scores are measured by asking patients how much pain they feel on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain).

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The researchers found that in every category, whether both sexes had sinusitis or neck pain, female patients reported having worse pain.

"We saw higher pain scores for female patients practically across the board," the senior author of the study Atul Butte said in a report on Stanford's School of Medicine web site.

And in many cases, the difference was remarkable.

Women reported pain scores of nearly a full point higher on the 10-point scale, Dr. Butte said, noting that a one-point difference is considered the equivalent of having pain medication kick in or not.

The study does not explain why women report more intense pain.

And as Dr. Butte adds, "It's still not clear if women actually feel more pain than men do. But they're certainly reporting more pain than men do."

However, as The New York Times reports, the findings highlight a possible need for more gender-specific pain treatment.

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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