Are men better at ignoring the pain?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by justjanelle, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    I saw a reference in another thread (men with fibro?) where a poster suggested that one reason fewer men were diagnosed with fibro was because men were better at ignoring the pain than women are. (Or better at dealing with the pain or something like that -- sorry, feeling a bit foggy tonight.)

    I had to chuckle a bit at that, because the men in my life (husband, son, dad, brothers) are all babies about pain.

    If they strain their back, they lie in bed with a heating pad and every pain medicine the doctor will give them (and the drs. do seem to be generous with their pain medicines!)and ask in a pitiful voice if someone can make them some chicken soup or bring them a cup of tea.

    In my experience, women just have to deal with it and continue on with things as best they can. I rarely lie in bed even when I'm very ill; the kids still have to be gotten ready for school, meals still have to be made etc.

    This month we moved from one house to another and I have 2 broken bones in my foot and a blood clot! I still packed up the house and unpacked in the new place (didn't carry a lot, but neither did DH as we hired people for that anyway.) Several months ago, DH missed 2 days of work with a dislocated pinky toe!

    I realize we're not really in a competition here (where we're all dealing with some degree of pain and fatigue) but what do you think?

    Comparing the men and women you know who are NOT ill with FM/CFS: Are the men in your lives "better at dealing with pain" than women? What about those who ARE ill?

    Just curious and not trying to cause a fight.

    Best wishes,

    [This Message was Edited on 10/30/2005]
  2. buddylee

    buddylee New Member

    That was just some thing a Doctor said to me . Not From the Men
    with Fibro site. That Doctor is a great Dr but he was a Hand DR.
    He was the Doctor that Dx me with FM but I had seen him for 2 +
  3. browneyes259

    browneyes259 New Member did when I read that post. Some may deal with it better and I would never belittle that, but in my experience w/ my own FMS/CFS free hubby he is the biggest baby on the planet when he's sick.

    I think in general most women would agree with that. Please don't take offense guys w/ FMS/CFS. I in no way would belittle your struggle to deal w/ your pain as we women do.

    Just talking about basic little illnesses men have in my experience.

  4. icare

    icare New Member

    I dont believe that for a min..Everybody( male and female) has a different pain tolerance.

    And different parts of the body may be more sensitive in a healthy person..Donot step on my wife"s feet..she will scream in pain. But on the other side of things, she has had alot of surgery and didnt complain at all.
    I am always crying to my wife about the pain i am in..she must get sick of it.

    It only involves sleep, or lack of it.
    Lately the pain has been getting worse..I might better go sleep out on a gravel driveway.

    When i get to sleep i usually get about 1 1/2 then i am awake and turn on the heating pad..that buys me some time, and hopfully i can fall asleep and get a couple more hrs.

    By 4;30 am my ribs and back is so sore i usually just get up and play cards on the computer or something.
    If there was any symptom i would like to get rid of it would be the pain.
    If you sleep well your body will heal. or restore.
    Healthy people have the idea, if you get pain, you just take a pill and it will take it all away..I guess i thought like that at one time.I know better now.


  5. 57Wagon

    57Wagon New Member

    I read that post too and I thought it would trigger a reaction.

    And us men can act like big babies when we have a cold around our wifes. LOL

    But I think we all have different pain thresholds whether female or male
  6. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I literally just read this on the banner headlines on CNN, this would explain why women feel more pain... not psychogenic but physical... but we women already knew that, right?!

    Extra Nerve Fibers May Heighten Female Pain Perception

    By Jeff Minerd, MedPage Today Staff Writer
    Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
    October 27, 2005
    MedPage Today Action Points

    * Explain to patients who ask that these preliminary results need to be confirmed by larger and less limited studies before any changes in pain management for women can be considered.

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 27 - Women appear to have a greater density of nerve receptors than men, suggesting that they are constitutionally more sensitive to pain, researchers here reported.

    Women averaged double the number of receptors compared with men in a certain area of facial skin, according to a study conducted by Bradon J. Wilhelmi, M.D., and colleagues at the Plastic Surgery Institute of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

    If the results of this study are confirmed, it could represent a physiological explanation for previous reports that women have higher pain perception and lower pain tolerance compared with men, the researchers reported in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

    The basis of this phenomenon has not been understood, said the authors. Some have suggested the reason could be psychosocial, while others have offered biological explanations including differences in receptor action potentials, integration of central nervous system signals, and biochemical signaling properties.

    To investigate whether a difference in nerve receptor density might account for the phenomenon, Dr. Wilhelmi and colleagues tested the skin of 20 cadavers, half men and half women. One centimeter square skin samples directly overlying the infraorbital nerve foramen were harvested, prepared with immunohistochemistry, and examined under a high-powered microscope.

    The nerve fibers in each sample were counted by a researcher who was blinded to the gender. The average fiber density in female samples was 34 ± 19 fibers per square centimeter. The average density in male samples was 17 ± 8 fibers per square centimeter. (P=0.038.)

    "Although preliminary and limited in scope, these findings favor a physical (organic) rather than a psychosocial explanation for more pronounced pain perception in female patients," the study authors concluded.

    However, they acknowledged that the area of skin they tested may not be representative, and they cautioned that "a larger sample size would be desirable before drawing any definitive conclusions."

    If the results are confirmed, "This study has serious implications about how we treat women after surgery as well as women who experience chronic pain," said Dr. Wilhelmi. "Because women have more nerve receptors, they may experience pain more powerfully than men, requiring different surgical techniques, treatments, or medicine dosages to help manage their pain and make them feel comfortable."

    Primary source: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Source reference:
    Mowlavi A et al. Increased cutaneous nerve fibers in female specimens. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2005; 116:1407-1410.

    All the best,
  7. browneyes259

    browneyes259 New Member

    interesting info!

  8. wangotango

    wangotango New Member

    hey all i am a man with cfs and i have bad cluster headaches i think that maybe men wait longer to do somehting about there pain but all in all i think women deal better with pain than men. a lot of men have pain and will stay home and rest but women that have the same pain still have to run the family and do just that. maybe it is the old way of thinking. but i would have to vote in the womens side for this one.
    ps: i know my last wife dealt with pain every day, she always said i was a pain in the %*%! lol just a little humor. be well all bill
  9. abbylee

    abbylee New Member

    I've never seen such a baby as I have in a sick man. Goodness no. A woman tolerates pain 95% better than a man.

  10. springrose22

    springrose22 New Member

    I totally agree that women handle pain much better than men, I think that men prefer to try and not admit that there may be something wrong with them, when it's not something obvious like a broken leg or whatever. Marie
  11. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    Men and women aren't that different. Women just tend to seek care more than men do. Maybe it's all the proddding we get to have "paps" and breast exams, etc. . . or having babies and all the appts we have to go to!

    I know that my husband has only begun going to the doctor since he had his injury and found out at that time that his BP was sky high. Before then, he never went. I mean that! We were married for nearly 18 years before I ever saw him go to a doctor. Yet, he has been ill, stepped on nails (took to ER and he walked out before seeing doctor after I pushed for the tetanus shot and he got it!)

    My Dad was the same way.

    Men just don't seek help unless really in trouble, and men don't admit they hurt unless they are in such sever pain they can function. This is different than women.

    L, Jeannette
  12. JLH

    JLH New Member

    MOST women can tolerate a heck of a lot more pain than any man can!!!

    I agree that "most" men are babies when it comes to pain and discomfort. I know my hubby and son are. But, you have an awful lot of women who are really big whinners about every little ache and pain.

    My dad was an exception to tolerating pain. He went through tons of pain and surgeries while undergoing kidney dialysis for 18 months. Then he had his toe amputated, then foot, then his leg up to the knee, then the rest of his leg. Through all of the amputations, he was so bad off that he was near death--and in a lot of pain. I never once heard his complain of his pain. I would ask him if he needed anything for pain--and he would just answer that he was OK, not to worry about him. He really was the exception. (He passed away 4 years ago.)

    I have heard the saying that if men had to go through the pain of childbirth, that the planet would not have very many children!!! My first labor was 42 hours--I often wonder how my husband would have handled it!!!

    I know I suffer in pain every day and very seldom mention it to him.
  13. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    Men are mostly pathetic when they're ill.

    I believe they deal with pain because they are TOO AFRAID to find out what is causing it.


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