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Medical News & Perspectives
July 8, 1998

Venus Orbits Closer to Pain Than Mars, Rx for One Sex May Not Benefit the Other

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JAMA. 1998;280(2):120-124. doi:10.1001/jama.280.2.120-JMN0708-2-1

WOMEN REPORT more pains overall, more severe and chronic pains, in more body regions than men, according to speakers at a conference on gender and pain at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md, in April. From childhood on, speakers said, the way the sexes perceive, describe, and cope with pain often differs. Measures that alleviate pain in one sex, moreover, may not work as well or at all in the other. Speakers urged physicians to factor sex into diagnosis and treatment decisions and recommended that research on pain at every level, from the molecular and genetic to the clinical, take potential sex differences into account.