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Women's Pain Not Taken As Seriously As Men's: Study

Are you a woman? Have you felt like people around you - whether family or friends - or even doctors, in some cases, don't take your pain seriously? If yes, you are not alone.

A study has found that women's pain not taken as seriously as men's [1]. In another similar poll, it was highlighted that women feel their pain is not taken seriously and is often ignored, or they are deemed 'emotional' [2].

Women's Pain Not Taken As Seriously As Men's: Major Findings

Here, we highlight some of the most recent studies and surveys that reveal 'gender discrimination' from the health perspective:

Study 1: One study indicates that sexist stereotypes cause doctors to ignore women's pain. Thus, women in pain are more likely to receive a prescription for sedatives than pain medications [1].

Study 2: The results of one survey indicated that women receiving coronary bypass surgery were half as likely to be prescribed painkillers as men [2].

It was pointed out that doctors and nurses were twice as likely to give narcotics to men than to women during the first three days after surgery. As health care professionals, we are taught that (narcotics) should be dispensed more conservatively to expressive patients, who tend to dramatise their pain, and more liberally to stoical patients.

Study 3: According to researchers of another study, gender is likely to affect how others perceive a patient's pain response [3].

Study 4: Gender bias in estimation of others' pain study indicates that observers viewed female patients' pain as less intense and more likely to benefit from psychotherapy rather than medication when both patients expressed the same amount of pain. This reveals an important patient gender bias that could lead to disparities in treatment [4].

Female patients reported and exhibited the same intensity of pain as male patients but were perceived to be in less pain than male patients. Researchers concluded from the analysis of participants' responses to the questionnaire about gender-related pain stereotypes that these stereotypes may partially explain these perceptions.

There will be a tendency to discount women's pain behaviour if the stereotype is that women are more expressive than men, perhaps even excessively expressive.

There was a greater preference for psychotherapy than medication among female patients compared to male patients. Furthermore, the study concluded that the gender of the perceiver did not influence pain estimation. Both men and women interpreted women's pain as being less severe.

Study 6: According to a survey, women felt that women feel their pain is not taken seriously and is often ignored, or they are deemed emotional, which falls in line with the findings of a few of the aforementioned studies and surveys [5].

According to a study of 5,100 adults, 56 per cent of women feel their pain has been ignored or dismissed, and 50 per cent of those feeling this way when seeking medical attention. More than 27 per cent reported feeling the same when opening up to other healthcare professionals. As well as partners and significant others, 21 per cent of respondents felt their friends were dismissive of their discomfort.

On A Final Note...

We are still dealing with the consequences of centuries-long discriminatory misconceptions about women's pain in today's society. Experts stated that the extensive influence of gender norms and stereotypes, not only medical but also social and cultural, on women's pain-causing health conditions is made worse by the misinterpretation, minimisation and misdiagnosis of women's health conditions [6].

Additionally, all of these studies and surveys emphasise the urgent need to address the massive inequalities related to women's pain.

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