Are women at a greater risk for developing common chronic pain conditions?

A huge number of epidemiological studies demonstrate that chronic pain conditions are more common in women than in men. Women are also at a greater risk for developing common chronic pain conditions including migraines, low back pain, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.

They conclude that the sex dimorphism of capsaicin-evoked mechanical pain is promoted by estrogen in females and suppressed by androgen in males, implicating sex hormone homeostasis as a prerequisite for sex dimorphism in TRPV1-mediated mechanical pain.

The authors of this research recommend to rethink the way we design and analyze data for clinical trials for chronic pain treatment, as it is likely that medications will not work equally in males or females.


Xin Luo, Ouyang Chen, Zilong Wang, Sangsu Bang, Jasmine Ji, Sang Hoon Lee, Yul Huh, Kenta Furutani, Qianru He, Xueshu Tao, Mei-Chuan Ko, Andrey Bortsov, Christopher R. Donnelly, Yong Chen, Andrea Nackley, Temugin Berta, Ru-Rong Ji