Understanding the gender–pain gap
Pain is an individual experience that is shaped by different biological, psychological and social factors. One biological factor is the sex of the individual according to anatomical, physiological and chromosomal characteristics. One psychosocial factor is the perception that an individual has of themselves as a woman or a man and how this influences the attitudes and behaviors in their daily life; in other words, their gender role. An individual’s gender role is known to influence attitudes and behaviors when in pain . Sex and gender should not be used interchangeably in the context of pain behavior, and it is challenging trying to distinguish the contribution of sex or gender to pain response. The Consensus Working Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Special Interest Group on Sex, Gender and Pain recommended that the term ‘sex and gender’ should be used when comparing pain responses between women and men .