Thursday, October 21, 2010
Why Do Females Have A Higher Pain Tolerance Than Men?
Actually, they don't.
Jeffrey Mogil, Ph.D., is professor of pain studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He explains that while not all studies have found sex differences, those which have all point in the same direction that contradicts conventional wisdom. "Females are more sensitive to pain, less tolerant and more able to discriminate different levels of pain than males," he says. This is true in studies of both humans and animals.
Another really interesting finding from Dr. Mogil relates to pain and hair color.He found that natural red heads (female only) experience pain differently from blondes or brunettes. This was not true in males. "It turns out that processing pain involves a receptor which, when mutated, produces red hair and fair skin, among other changes. This receptor—the MC1r receptor— was initially thought to occur only in the skin. However, it has now been found in the brain, and there, in women, it's part of the pathway that processes pain."