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Airing Pain 108: Gender Differences

How men and women experience pain, arming yourself with the right information, and not being embarrassed about your condition

This edition’s been part funded by the Women’s Fund for Scotland.

Do women and men experience pain differently, or is it only our attitudes towards pain that differ? In this edition of Airing Pain, Paul speaks to healthcare professionals about their findings with the literature surrounding chronic pain and the changing outlooks when it comes to seeking help.

Deputy Director of the Bath Centre for Pain Research, Professor Ed Keogh, speaks about his review of men’s health literature in the context of chronic pain, and found that women are more likely to report pain in more body regions in their lifetime compared to men. He considers whether this is due to biological or social/emotional reasons, but emphasises that the variation within males and females is much greater than the variation between the sexes.

Can the gender roles society pushes on us affect how we deal with our pain? Senior clinical psychologist of the National Specialist Pain Service in Bath Dr Gauntlett-Gilbert talks to Paul about how the societal expectations of how we handle pain can feed into depression and guilt.

Specialist physiotherapist at UCL Hospitals’ Pain Management Centre Katrine Petersen discusses the lack of literature on men’s pain, especially pelvic pain, as well as her experiences in using physiotherapeutic strategies in the context of chronic pain syndromes.

Issues covered in this programme include: CBT: cognitive behavioural therapy, chronic prostatitis, difference, urogenital pain, pelvic pain, chronic primary pain, depression, men and women, men’s pain, menstruation, prostate cancer, prostatitis, relationships, research, sex difference, social factors, testicular pain and women’s pain.


  • Dr Ed Keogh, Deputy Director of Bath Centre for Pain Research, Bath University
  • Katrine Petersen, Specialist Physiotherapist at University College London Hospitals’ Pain Management Centre
  • Dr Jeremy Gauntlett-Gilbert, Senior Clinical Psychologist of the National Specialist Pain Service in Bath.

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