Scientists from the University of Georgia (USA) discovered that women feel more pain than men. It’s been known for ages that ladies complain about problems more. But it’s not because they just cannot handle it. Any ache indeed feels stronger for them.
Research: Ladies indeed are more sensitive to painful sensations
Statistics show that women far more often than men suffer from chronic and inflammatory pain, as well as females are more prone to diseases like fibromyalgia (causing pain all over the body) and osteoarthritis. At the same time, morphine, which is widely used for pain relief, is much less effective for female patients. In order to relieve or alleviate painful sensations, female patients need 2 times more morphine than males.
Why women feel more pain than men?
The researchers have long been concerned with the problem. The knowledge of what sex differences are responsible for the “injustice” may help to produce new improved kinds of painkillers.
Just recently, American scientists stumbled upon differences in the activity of microglial cells in the brain dependent on the gender. Microglia are the special type of cells of the central nervous system. Their main role is to protect the brain from infections and pathogens.
In females (compared to males), microglia are more active in the brain regions responsible for handling of pain signals.
Blocking effects of microglia in females produces an incredible effect, Science Daily reports. The response to anaesthetics improves, causing pain to drop to normal levels observed in males.
Hillary Doyle, the author of the study and graduate student of the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Georgia, conducted a laboratory experience on rats. She injected male and female rats a drug that “blocks” the action of microglial cells.
She discovered that when these cells are disabled, female rats require exactly the same amount of morphine as males to get relief from the ache.
It seems that a poor response to morphine in women is provoked by high activity of microglia.
Researchers hope that their findings will contribute to development of new improved analgesic drugs. Probably, they could be directed at disabling microglia.
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