Jan 26, 2023, 5:00 am UTC

1 min

Created By

The excruciating truth about women's pain

In a post on Instagram, The Endo Nurse — a nurse specialist and midwife with endometriosis — recounts having her pain symptoms dismissed by emergency department staff. 

"While performing a very unnecessarily invasive pelvic exam the doctor turned to her resident & told her that she did not believe I was experiencing any pain or that I had endometriosis at all & that I just wanted a medical certificate to get out of my exam. She finished her examination without a word to me & left the room. ⁣

⁣I was horrified.⁣"

Her story is all too familiar for women — and especially women of color — experiencing pain. They often encounter indifference, disbelief, and dismissal from the very people they turn to for support.

So what ⁣do we know about the gender pain gap? And why is women's pain so misunderstood?



  1. Zelaya, C.E., Dahlhamer, J.M., Lucas, J.W., and Connor, E.M. (2020). Chronic Pain and High-impact Chronic Pain Among U.S. Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  2. Bimpong, K., Thomson, K., McNamara, C.L., Balaj, M., Akhter, N., Bambra, C., and Todd,A. (2022). The Gender Pain Gap: gender inequalities in pain across 19 European countries. Scand J Public Health. 50(2):287-294.  
  3. Ruau, D., Liu, L.y., Clark, J.D., Angst, M.S., Butte, A.J. (2012). Sex Differences in Reported Pain Across 11,000 Patients Captured in Electronic Medical Records. J Pain. 13(3): 228-234. 
  4. Banco, D., Chang, J., Talmor, N., Wadhera, P., Mukhopadhyay, A., Lu, X., Dong, S., Lu, Y., Betensky, R.A., Blecker, S., Safdar, B., and Reynolds, H.R. (2022). Sex and Race Differences in the Evaluation and Treatment of Young Adults Presenting to the Emergency Department with Chest Pain. Journal of the American Heart Association. 11:e024199. 
  5. Mogil, J.S. (2012). Sex differences in pain and pain inhibition: multiple explanations of a controversial phenomenon. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 13, 859-866.


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