Global Issue: Untreated Chronic Pain In Women

Image credit: Shethepeople

Chronic pain is a significant and often ignored issue, especially for women. Women are more prone to conditions like low back pain, osteoarthritis, and endometriosis compared to men. This trend starts early, with more girls reporting chronic pain even at age two.

Despite this, there’s a lack of in-depth research on how pain affects men and women differently and why women’s pain treatment is often inadequate. Medical gaslighting, where doctors dismiss or question a patient’s symptoms, is common. Women are more frequently sent to psychologists for their pain, while men are investigated for medical causes.

Historically, medical research and treatment have focused on men, leading to biased therapy recommendations. Although guidelines now require including women in research, there’s still a shortage of data on gender differences in chronic pain. Social and psychological factors affecting pain in women are poorly understood. Research shows women are at higher risk for headaches, musculoskeletal disorders, and lower back pain.

Healthcare inequality means women often receive less treatment or wait longer for care. In 2017, NICE advised the NHS to take women’s menstrual pain seriously, but their guidelines on chronic pain still don’t address gender differences or stress the importance of listening to women with chronic pain.

A gender-responsive approach and better understanding of pain in women can reduce disparities and improve their quality of life. This means more equitable and effective pain management for women.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the People.

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