Women Feel More Pain

Men have a higher tolerance for pain than women. That might be because of brain chemicals that help suppress pain.

By PT Staff, published on July 1, 2004 - last reviewed on November 11, 2005

Women have a lower tolerance for pain compared to men, says Jon-kar Zubieta, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan. The culprit may be opioids, brain chemicals that help suppress pain. In one study, Zubieta found a smaller portion of the brain was activated by opioids in women. Sensitivity to the chemicals increases during pregnancy as the body prepares for childbirth.

Additional Facts: Everybody Hurts

Approximately 30 percent of people with pain are depressed.

About 75 percent of those suffering from depression complain of physical symptoms, including pain.

About 40 percent of patients with chronic headaches also reported depression.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and