Do women and men experience pain differently?

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Dr. Pohl discusses if a woman's pain is different from a man's pain.

Transcript Hi, my name is Dr. Mel Pohl. I am the Medical Director of the Las Vegas Recovery Center. We are an addiction treatment program and we also have a program for people with chronic pain. My specialty is in family medicine. I am a physician board-certified in family medicine and I also have a specialty in addiction medicine. I am a Fellow of the American Board of Family Medicine and a Fellow of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Actually, women do feel pain differently. What we found is that the spots in the brain where pain is experienced, and they are diverse--I mean, there are a number of different areas in the brain structure. It seems like the spots in women’s brains process the pain signal differently. What we have found is that women may be less tolerant to pain. Therefore, painful stimulus, let’s say a push that’s hard enough to make a fingernail blanch, might feel like pain to a woman whereas to a man, they might feel less painful. Having said that, women are able to tolerate longer periods of pain so that sort of probably goes back to the experience of childbirth. I mean, a woman actually is programmed, if you will, on a brain level, on a brain central nervous system level to be able to tolerate long periods of pain, but the acute experience of pain seems to be more painful in a woman than for a man.
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  • Dr. Mel Pohl

    Dr. Mel Pohl Family Practitioner Dr. Mel Pohl, Board Certified Family Practitioner, is Medical Affairs VP and Medical Director at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, the only private, freestanding, medically managed inpatient detoxification and addiction treatment facility in Las Vegas. more about this expert »

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