Researchers discover women feel higher levels of pain

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Women with chronic ailments experience more intense pain than men, according to a new study. Results and further research could eventually lead to more accurate pain-medication prescribing for both men and women, experts say. 

Women reported significantly higher pain levels from diabetes, hypertension, ankle injuries and back pain, among other illnesses, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Investigators analyzed data from electronic medical records of 11,000 patients who had rated their pain (0 for no pain to 10 for “worst pain imaginable”).

The management of chronic pain is an ongoing topic of debate among long-term caregivers. The data don't lead to a specific reason for the discrepancy between the sexes, but consideration must be given to biological factors, the study's lead author said.

Pain experts have said it is possible men are more liable to downplay their level of pain when asked, but also noted that previous studies have indicated hormones may play a role in how women experience pain.

The Stanford study was published in the Journal of Pain.

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