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Study Hall: Women may feel more pain than men

For Study Hall each week, we sort through the deluge of new medical studies and wordy white papers to bring you one that deserves your attention—in plain, healthy English.


Next time your boyfriend mocks you for making such a big deal out of a stubbed toe or a paper cut (they really hurt!), you’ll have a comeback ready.

According to a study in the Journal of Pain (published on January 23, 2012), women may feel higher levels of pain than men in certain situations.

The study: Researchers from Stanford University examined the electronic medical records of 11,000 patients who had reported pain scores on a scale of 0-10.  Then, they compared the pain scores of men and women for 47 diagnoses.

The results: Women reported significantly higher pain scores for 14 out of the 47 medical conditions, including musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive problems. Researchers did not look at why women reported higher levels of pain.

What it means:  Men may just report lower levels of pain (because they want to be perceived as tough), or women may actually feel more pain than men.  Either way, file this one away with “childbirth” in your “things he doesn’t get to comment on” folder.  —Allison Becker