100 million people in America are in pain every day of their lives. Help women achieve better pain management!
Pain is disruptive to normal life and if you are a woman – it is likely you are in more pain than you need to be.
In the past 20 years, multiple studies have shown women are treated differently than men with regards to pain. In one study, researchers videotaped professional actors pretending to be people with chest pain. They showed 700 primary care physicians the videos, and gave them identical health and symptom data for male and female patients. The doctors were more likely to think the men had heart disease and more inclined to think the women were suffering chest pains due to anxiety. One study showed that after abdominal surgery, physicians prescribed less pain medication for women than for men, and that nurses gave less pain medication to women. In another study, male patients undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft received narcotics more often than female patients. Another study, examining post-operative pain in children, found that more codeine was given to boys and that girls were likely to be given acetaminophen. In another study, female patients with advanced cancer received less pain medication than men with similar tumors and similar reported pain. More worrisome, women have been shown to be likely to die in hospital care, less likely to be placed in critical care units, and less likely to be recommended for life saving surgeries than men of the same age presenting with the same symptoms!
Over time, untreated pain can lead to heart problems, digestive issues, and immune disorders as the nerves become hyperactive. People with chronically untreated pain can become depressed and anxious and may have poor quality of life.
Our mission is to raise awareness to the epidemic of gender inequality in the medical perception and treatment of pain so that women can be given adequate pain management and ultimately, better health care.
Please sign this and tell the American Medical Schools to change the curriculum to include a gender-neutral stance toward pain diagnosis and treatment.
You can find the website at www.inequalityinpain.org
Hoffmann D.E and Tarzian A.J. The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, (2001) 29:13–27.
Bonita R, Beaglehole R. Women and NCDs: overcoming the neglect. Global Health Action. (2014) 7:23742
Wandner et al. The impact of patients' gender, race, and age on health care professionals' pain management decisions: an online survey using virtual human technology. Int J Nurs Stud. (2014) 51:726-33.