Women Have Twice as Many Nerve Receptors as Men

Women Experience More Pain

People have believed that women are more sensitive than men for millennia, and scientists now have proof.

Recent studies show that women are more sensitive to pain than men are, and women have twice as many nerve receptors.

Women Feel Pain More Intensely

A study conducted by Bradon Wilhelmi, M.D. compared the sensitivity to pain in the facial area among men and women. Their results showed that women had an average of 34 nerve fibers per cm2 of facial skin while men only averaged 17 nerve fibers.

The study also indicated that women felt pain more strongly and had lower pain tolerances than men. Women also reported longer durations of pain.

A more comprehensive study looked at the medical records of 11,000 patients from a span of 3 years for over 250 ailments. When men and women were asked to rate their pain levels, women’s scores were, on average, 20% higher than men’s. It didn’t matter what ailment they were being treated for.


Man endures pain as an undeserved punishment; woman accepts it as a natural heritage.

No one knows conclusively why women feel pain more intensely than men. The increased number of nerve fibers may play a role, but many factors coalesce to determine how a person perceives pain.

An individual’s perception of pain can fluctuate. Pain tolerance can vary based on how much sleep they’ve had or how stressed they are. Factors such as genetics, personality, hormone levels, medications, what environment they’re in, and psychological elements like emotions and mood also play a role.

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It’s quite possible that pain systems work differently in men and women. Researchers are still investigating the intricacies of that, though.


The implications of these findings are far-reaching. When women seek health care to relieve symptoms of pain, practitioners should pay more attention to how they manage the patients’ pain. Assuming that one-size-fits-all pain management works equally well for men and women may not be the best plan of action.

A 2003 study found that women who received morphine for pain management after surgery needed higher levels of the drug to get the same analgesic effect as men. The study showed women needed 30% more morphine than men to get the same effect.

Healthcare practitioners may need to use different surgical techniques, treatments, or medicine dosages to help women combat pain effectively.

How to Reduce Your Sensation of Pain

The next time you are besieged by pain, use these techniques to lower your sensitivity to pain naturally:

  • Use Your Mind. Mental techniques can be more effective than medicine in relieving pain. Learn some techniques and read about those who have mastered these techniques.

  • Sleep More. The more rested you are, the more tolerance you have to pain. One study found that increasing sleep time by 1.8 hours offered as much pain tolerance as 60 mg of codeine.

  • Meditation reduces pain-related neural activity in many regions of the brain.

  • Get Social. Feeling lonely and being alone increases pain perception, so enjoy the company of a friend or become part of a group.

  • Drink Plenty of Water. Studies show that drinking too little and being under-hydrated increases pain sensitivity and reduces blood flow in the brain.

  • Exercise. Exercise causes the body to release natural pain-killers like endorphins, and it increases pain tolerance even after the exercise has ended.

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What do you do to reduce your pain other than pop a pill?

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