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Gender Differences in Pain 

Gender Differences in Pain
Chapter:
Gender Differences in Pain
Author(s):

Gregory Carpenter

and Meenal Patil

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190217518.003.0005
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date: 19 August 2019

Epidemiologic and clinical findings demonstrate that women are at increased risk for chronic pain, experience greater pain-related distress, and show heightened sensitivity for pain compared to men. There are differences in analgesic responses to pain and to both opioid and non-opioid medications as well as for endogenous analgesic processes. Many stress-related disorders, such as fibromyalgia and chronic pain, are more prevalent in women. Studies of experimentally induced pain show that women exhibit greater pain sensitivity, enhanced pain facilitation, and reduced pain inhibition compared to men. Mechanisms that implicated in the underlying sex differences include biological involvement of estrogen and progesterone versus testosterone. Sex-related differences in pain may also reflect differences in the endogenous opioid system. Other mechanisms include steroid action differences in adulthood, modulation of various biological systems such as the cardiovascular and inflammatory pathways, and sociocultural differences

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