Doctors have believed that women feel the same level of pain as men, but the female biological and hormonal make-up changes the way they feel pain, and it also means that doctors should treat women differently.
Paracetamol, for example, is less effective for women, and they are likely to suffer more side effects than men from the drug.
Women are also more susceptible to chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a conference organised by the International Association for the Study of Pain has heard.
Because doctors are often ignorant of women's pain thresholds, they are likely to dismiss a female patient's complaints, and put it down instead to psychiatric issues.
(Source: Daily Telegraph, August 25, 2008).