Women feel more intense pain than men; Research

Researchers have found that women feel more intense pain than men.

This research has been done by the researchers from Stanford University and published online in the January 16 of The Journal of Pain.

Researchers reviewed 160,000 pain reports from 72,000 patients in the electronic medical records (EMRs) of Stanford Hospital and Clinics. Patients report their feelings of pain and were scored on a scale from 0-10 in which 0 means “none at all” and 10 means “the most imaginable”.

Description of pain in male and female

“In many cases, the reported difference approached a full point on the 1-to-10 scale,” Stanford Pediatrics professor Dr. Atul Butte said in Stanford’s Scope journal. “How big is that? A pain-score improvement of one point is what clinical researchers view as indicating that a pain medication is working.” This makes the data not just statistically significant, but also clinically significant.

“We actually use these numbers,” Butte said. “We use these as a kind of threshold – when do we start pain medicine? Are we treating someone with enough pain medicine? We need to have that understanding that there is a sex difference here.”

As the data were taken from the patients themselves, it may be a possibility that women report pain more readily than men. Moreover, men may become more reluctant to admit their pain to female nurses. However, it can be a good start in research regarding pain or psychology of pain, according to experts.


David Ruau, Linda Y. Liu, J. David Clark, Martin S. Angst, Atul J. Butte, (2012). Sex Differences in Reported Pain Across 11,000 Patients Captured in Electronic Medical Records. The Journal of Pain.


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