New research suggests that gender plays a part in pain experienced after surgery, with men feeling more pain following major surgery while women feel more pain after minor procedures.
The study is by Dr Andreas Sandner-Kiesling, Dept of Anaesthesiology & Intensive Care, Medical University of Graz, Austria, and colleagues and is presented at this year's Euroanaesthesia meeting in Stockholm.
"The influence of gender and sexes is a key issue of today's research in medicine. However, current literature in the field of perioperative medicine rarely focuses on this question," says Dr Sandner-Kiesling. "Our aim was to analyse a large population to find differences in postoperative pain perception in females and males."
When analysing data for influences of sexes on postoperative pain overall, the researchers found no significant differences. However, after arranging data according to the different kind of surgeries, sexes showed significantly different results. Men were 27% more likely to experience a greater number of moderate pain episodes after major vascular and orthopaedic surgery, while women were 34% more likely to report higher pain ratings after minor procedures, such diagnostic procedures and biopsies.
The authors conclude: "The gender differences on pain perception are still heavily disputed, both in experimental and clinical fields. Our data do not definitely clarify this issue; however, based on our findings it can be presumed that the type (and severity) of surgery may play a pivotal role, as females express higher pain scores after minor procedures, whereas males are more affected after major surgery."