Over the years a number of clinical trials have shown
significant gender differences with regard to susceptibility to pain through
illness, effectiveness of medications and recovery after anaesthetic. Furthermore,
these results coincide with general lore where it is often said that women
tolerate pain better than men.
However, new research led by scientists
at Malaga University
with the aim of examining the differences between
men and women in terms of their experience with chronic pain has dispelled this
theory, revealing that these differences are minimal. Moreover, the study
affirms that men and women endure chronic
pain on similar levels.
Resilience, a person's ability to overcome adverse circumstances, was the main
quality linked with pain tolerance among patients and their adjustment to
Carmen Ramirez-Maestre, researcher at the Andalusian
institution, said, "More resilient individuals tend to accept their pain, that
is, they tend to understand that their ailment was chronic and they stopped
focusing on trying to get the pain to disappear, to focus their energy on
enhancing their quality of life, despite the pain."
The research also showed that patients that feared
pain also suffered significantly more anxiety and depression. The scientists
concluded that this fear was only related to a greater degree of pain in the
samples of men and this was the only difference identified between the sexes.
The study is published in The Journal of Pain