Women's chronic pain is more complex, more severe

(Medical Xpress)—New research from the University of Adelaide has found that chronic pain in women is more complex and harder to treat than chronic pain in men.

The work, to be presented tomorrow at the Faculty of Pain Medicine spring meeting in Byron Bay, organised by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), suggest that and women should be prescribed medications and treated for differently according to their gender.

Study leader Dr Mark Hutchinson from the University's School of Medical Sciences says laboratory studies have shown for the first time that the brain's immune cells, known as glial cells, contribute to differences in pain between the sexes.

"There are fundamental differences in the experience of pain between females and males," says Dr Hutchinson, whose research has been investigating why turns to (experienced for at least three months consecutively) in some people and why chronic pain is more prevalent in women than in men.

"Our research is discovering brain mechanisms at work that are proving chronic pain in women is more complex and difficult to treat than in men, despite the similarity of the initial cause of pain.

"Female and male structures in the brain are different but that doesn't explain women's higher rate of pain. There are multiple different pain systems in females and males," he says.

"Our studies certainly show that women's experience of pain is more severe and the pain is harder to treat." Dr Hutchinson says it's already known that some drugs for only work on and not on men, indicating the need for more tailored treatments.

"Better understanding female chronic pain is extremely important to treatment. We're hoping our research will lead to the development of sex-targeted drugs that will provide more effective pain relief," he says.

This research has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can meditation decrease chronic pain?

Oct 23, 2013

A randomized controlled study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics has investigated the role of a special form of meditation (mindfulness) in Chronic pain.

Pain can be contagious

May 08, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—The pain sensations of others can be felt by some people, just by witnessing their agony, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

12 hours ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

15 hours ago

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments