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Women Still Second-Class Citizens Where Pain is Concerned?

By HERWriter
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are women second-class citizens for pain? PS Productions/Photospin

Women are still being dealt with by many of the same standards and methods as men are, but more and more we're seeing that this isn't working for women. This is particularly true where pain in concerned.

Medical treatment developed for men often doesn't work so well for women. For instance, though women respond differently to drugs, many drugs are tested only on men. Men metabolize some things faster than we women. We metabolize other things faster than men. We don't respond as well to anesthesia or ibuprofen.

According to a review in the Journal of Pain, 2009, women have three times the risk for autoimmune diseases in general than men. Women have twice the risk for multiple sclerosis. We have two to three times the risk for rheumatoid arthritis. We have four times the risk for chronic fatigue syndrome than men.

There are a variety of autoimmune conditions, with a vast array of possible symptoms. One thing that is basic to an autoimmune disease is a tendency toward inflammation. Inflammation can cause pain along with heat, redness and swelling in various areas of the body. Joint pain is common with some autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health has called autoimmunity a major health issue for women.

Prejudice within the medical community is still entrenched where women's health problems are concerned.

A 2011 study from the Institute of Medicine called Relieving Pain in America indicated that women experience greater pain, and that a woman's pain is more likely to be shrugged off by health care professionals than a man's.

In another study The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain it was seen that women are not as likely as men to receive treatment that is thorough and agressive. Their stated pain is more likely to be waved away as being emotional, and not considered to be genuine pain.

Women's treatment can then become mental health treatment simply because a health care provider believed them to be emotional and exaggerating their experience of pain.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.