Women and the Experience of Pain and Opioid Use Disorder: A Literature-based Commentary
It is generally understood that pain experience and opioid abuse have relied on male-dominated models. However, sex and gender play a role in both pain experience and opioid use disorder.
Using the previously validated Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Sex and Gender Specific Health PubMed Advanced Search Tool, the authors used pertinent literature to develop this literature-based commentary on sex and gender differences in pain experience and opioid use disorder. Women report their experience of pain more frequently, have increased rates of diagnoses related to pain, have increased pain sensitivity, and have a variable response to pain and analgesia. This variable response is due to anatomic, physiologic, hormonal, psychological, and social factors that differ by sex and gender. Women have been found to be at greater risk for opioid abuse in all age groups. This may be due to the differences in pain experience, as well as sex and gender differences in prescribing patterns, cultural norms, and the increased likelihood to experience dependency and withdrawal. Approaches to the treatment of opioid use disorder are also subject to sex and gender differences—an area in need of further investigation.
Published In/Presented At
Koons, A. L., Rayl Greenberg, M., Cannon, R. D., & Beauchamp, G. A. (2018). Women and the Experience of Pain and Opioid Use Disorder: A Literature-based Commentary. Clinical Therapeutics, 40(2), 190-196. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2017.12.016
Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine Faculty