What would it be like if men were the ones who had to experience childbirth? That's just one of the questions that may be answered by a new study exploring how men and women experience pain differently.
Dr. Andreas Sander-Kiesling, from the department of anesthesiology and intensive care at the Medical University of Graz in Austria, reviewed records of more than 10,000 patients undergoing various surgeries over a two year period.
The participants - a mixture of men and women - were asked to rate their pain within 24 hours of their procedure.
The researchers found that men were 27% more likely to report feeling more pain after major operations such as heart and shoulder surgery, while women were more likely to show higher pain readings after relatively minor or routine ones such as biopsies and abortions.
Sandner-Kiesling told CBSNews he did not think the findings should change the way men and women are treated for pain. "Clinically, there is no relevance," he said.
One factor to consider when analysing the differing levels of pain could be the psychological implications of a procedure. For instance, procedures such as cancer-related biopsies or abortions may have more of an emotional impact on women, and therefore alter their individual perceptions of pain.
Speaking to the BBC, Dr Beverly Collett, a consultant in pain management and anaesthesia at the University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust, said: "The study titillates and makes you want to ask more questions, but doesn't allow you to probe it.
"Which procedures were classed as major surgery? How old were they? That will have an effect on sex hormones. And pain will be dependent on the parts of the body being biopsied."Suggest a correction