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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache
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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: OFPH
Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache

Edited by Barry J. Sessle, BDS, MDS, BSc, PhD, FRSC

Official Journal of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain,
the European, Asian, and Ibero-Latin Academies of Craniomandibular
Disorders, and the Australian Academy of Orofacial Pain

ISSN 2333-0384 (print) • ISSN 2333-0376 (online)

Summer 2000
Volume 14 , Issue 3

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Focus Article: Gender Differences in Pain

Thuan T. T. Dao, DMD, MSc, Dip Prostho, PhD/Linda LeResche, ScD

Pages: 169-184
PMID: 11203754

A review of the literature on gender and clinical pain reveals a disproportionate representation of women receiving treatment for many pain conditions and suggests that women report more severe pain, more frequent pain, and pain of longer duration than do men. Gender differences in pain perception have also been extensively studied in the laboratory, and ratings of experimentally induced pain also show some sex disparity, with females generally reporting lower pain thresholds and tolerance than males. However, there is little consensus on whether these apparent differences reflect the way men and women respond to pain, differing social rules for the expression of pain, or biologic differences in the way noxious stimuli are processed. In this paper, our working hypothesis is that the higher prevalence of chronic orofacial pain in women is a result of sex differences in generic pain mechanisms and of as-yet unidentified factors unique to the craniofacial system. We will review the evidence concerning gender differences in the prevalence of pain conditions, with a focus on orofacial pain conditions. Evidence and hypotheses concerning biologic and psychosocial factors that could influence prevalence rates will also be discussed.

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