Men are less tolerant than women when it comes to repeated pain, study shows

1-17-2019 menandwomenc
Image credit: Todd/Flickr

A painful experience is not one you are likely to forget—you don’t need to have a trunk slammed onto your finger multiple times to realize that it’s a situation you’d like to avoid. According to a study published [January 10] in Current Biology, one painful ordeal in a particular setting is enough to make pain less tolerable in that same place in the future—but only if you’re male.

[Researchers recruited 79 people and conducted] the so-called ischemic tourniquet test, in which a blood pressure cuff is squeezed tightly around a participant’s arm and the resultant loss of blood supply causes pain. (This procedure is safe, but according to [neuroscientist Jeffrey] Mogil, “it hurts like hell.”) Again, they found that just the men showed a heightened response to heat pain the next day—and only in the room where they previously took part in the agonizing task. In a different room, men’s tolerance for heat pain remained unchanged after the tourniquet test. Women rated heat pain similarly on both testing days, and in both locations.

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[Neuroscientist Anne Murphy] was surprised that the researchers only found this effect in males. “I would really like to see this in a clinically relevant situation,” Murphy adds. “For example, if you know you’re going into repeated surgery, is the pain experienced by the second surgery more intense than the first one?”

Read full, original post: Men React to Repeated Painful Experiences Differently than Women Do

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