INTRODUCTION: Gender equity and gender medicine are opportunities not to be missed, and this Expert Group Opinion Paper on pain in women aims to review the treatment of pain conditions mainly affecting women, as well as the fundamental aspects of the different clinical response to drug treatment between the genders, and what can be done for gender-specific rehabilitation.
METHODS: Perspective review.
RESULTS: Genotypic and phenotypic differences in pain between the sexes are conditioned by anatomical, physiological, neural, hormonal, psychological, social, and cultural factors, such as the response to pharmacological treatment to control pain. The examination of these factors shows that women are affected by pain diseases more frequently and severely than men and that they report pain more frequently and with a lower pain threshold than men. Some forms of pain are inherently related to gender differences, such as pain related to the genitourinary system. However, other forms of chronic pain are seen more frequently in women than men, such as migraine, rheumatological, and musculoskeletal pain, in particular fibromyalgia.
DISCUSSION: Research is needed into the pathophysiological basis for gender differences in the generation of acute pain and maintenance of chronic pain, including the factors that put women at higher risk for developing chronic pain. In addition, different specialties need to collaborate to develop gender-related diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines, and healthcare professionals need to upskill themselves in the appropriate management of pain using existing diagnostic tools and therapeutic options.