Amount Of Post-Surgical Pain May Be Determined By Gender, Study Finds

Sorcha Szczerbiak

Many people are very fearful about going under the knife, and in many cases, part of the reason why is that patients are afraid post-surgical pain will adversely disrupt their lives for too long. A new Austrian study that examined the experiences of more than 10,000 subjects discovered that the amount of pain a person feels following particular surgeries may be determined by gender.

The study about post-surgical pain was different from the norm, because the majority of past research has not attempted to link gender with the perception of pain. Also, this investigation took place across a four-year span.

Researchers discovered men were more likely than women to experience a greater amount of post-surgical pain following major procedures. On the other hand, women tended to feel pain more severely following minor types of surgeries, such as biopsies.

All participants in the post-surgical pain study were interviewed one day after their procedures. During the process, subjects were asked about their general well-being, pain level, type of operation and kind of anesthesia received. After reviewing the collected data, scientists found men who underwent a major type of vascular or orthopedic surgery were 27 percent more likely than women to go through moderate pain.

However, females more commonly reported pain while recovering from lesser types of surgeries. Interestingly enough though, the women generally reported a lesser amount of post-surgical pain after invasive procedures.

It's important to note that there may be a psychological factor influencing the perception of pain. Two of the procedures that were considered relatively minor for the purposes of this study were abortions and biopsies. Clearly, even though those types of medical procedures are not as involved as others, they can be characterized by high emotions in patients who are either dealing with the loss of unborn fetuses or wondering whether or not they will soon be facing cancer diagnoses.

While discussing their findings, the scientists noted how there is still a great deal of dispute both in clinical and scientific study regarding the differences in how males and females experience pain. However, in an article that was published through HealthDay News, the authors talked about how their findings indicate gender "may play a pivotal role" in the amount of post-surgical pain a person experiences.

The results of the post-surgical pain study were presented today at a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, and as such, they should be thought of as preliminary until they are approved for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

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