Key Points: Depression
Studies in humans have shown that females generally experience more clinical pain and often show greater experimental pain responses (i.e., have lower thresholds and less tolerance for pain) than males, said Karen J. Berkley, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Florida State University. That difference, however, can be manipulated by a variety of experimental factors (e.g., stimulus type, pain scale used, testing paradigms, endpoints selected) and impacted by individual factors (e.g., age, reproductive status, general health, blood pressure, food intake, odors, social and cultural factors).
Although individuals show significant variability when it comes to alleviating pain, some generally accepted sex differences in pain are worth considering. First, more painful conditions have a higher prevalence in females than males. In other words, women are more likely to have painful chronic conditions than men. The underlying basis for this disparity is not known, but probably has multiple causes, Berkley said, and is an opportunity for further research. Second, hundreds of therapies are available to