'Real Women, Real Pain' Campaign Highlights the Suffering Caused by
Disparities in Pain Recognition and Treatment in Women Around the World
SEATTLE, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Today, the International Association for the
Study of Pain (IASP) has declared 2008 the Global Year Against Pain in Women
to draw attention to the significant impact of chronic pain on women and the
need for more effective care. Lack of awareness of pain issues affecting women
and gender disparities in treatment and research contribute to the suffering
of millions of women.
"Chronic pain affects a higher proportion of women than men, but
unfortunately they are also less likely to receive treatment compared to men
due to various cultural, economic and political barriers," said Troels S.
Jensen, MD, President of IASP, Professor of Experimental and Clinical Pain
Research, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark. "IASP hopes to provide a
voice to these women by drawing attention to this global issue as a first step
towards reducing pain and suffering of women around the world."
Real Women, Real Pain
Research has shown that women generally experience more recurrent pain,
more severe pain and longer lasting pain than men. Chronic pain conditions
which affect women more than men include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS), rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic pelvic pain,
temporomandibular joint disorder (i.e., TMJ) and migraine headache.
Women appear to experience pain differently than men, although the reason
is not entirely understood. It is believed that this difference is due to
numerous biological reasons including genetic, hormonal and pharmacological
factors/influences. In addition, psychosocial and cultural disease
factors/influences play an important role in how women experience pain.
Over the next year, the 'Real Women, Real Pain' campaign will educate the
public, healthcare providers and government leaders/agencies about the lack of
diagnosis and adequate treatment of chronic pain in women. This will help to:
- Increase awareness of pain conditions predominantly affecting
women and help women and healthcare providers recognize signs and
- Raise awareness of disparities between female/male pain issues
- Empower women to become advocates for themselves and others, by
encouraging them to affirm their pain is real and seek proper
- Increase female-specific research
- Encourage the development of new female-specific treatment options
To further these objectives, IASP will initiate a number of national and
local activities in conjunction with their 69 local chapters worldwide. A
special issue of the IASP journal Pain will be dedicated to pain in women in
November 2007. The IASP website will also feature campaign information
including local IASP chapter initiatives.
Gender Inequalities in Health Care
Certain pain conditions commonly affecting women often do not receive
adequate attention as historically medical research has heavily relied on male
populations and conditions affecting them. The result of this male-centric
research approach is that women continue to be treated based on studies in
which they may not have been adequately represented.
Access to healthcare services, particularly in poverty stricken areas of
the developing world, can act as a barrier for women seeking help for pain
Cultural factors also influence a woman's likelihood of seeking treatment
for medical conditions, including pain. For example, in many cultures, women
believe that their suffering is part of their role in society. Additionally
treatment by a male healthcare provider may also bring shame to a woman's
family, forcing her to go without treatment.
Women may also encounter situations where physicians do not believe their
pain is real.
"In order to promote change around the world, we need to raise awareness
of pain disorders predominantly affecting women, increase research into these
conditions and effective treatment options, as well as improve access to
needed therapies," said Beverly Collett, MBBS, FRCA, IASP Council member and
Consultant in Pain Medicine at Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK.
IASP would like to recognize Pfizer Inc as a sponsor of the Global Year
Against Pain in Women and thank them for supporting efforts to promote
education on this important issue.
For more information on The Global Year Against Pain and Women, upcoming
initiatives around the world, please visit http://www.iasp-pain.org.
The International Association for the Study of Pain(R) (IASP) is the
leading professional forum for science, practice, and education in the field
of pain. IASP has more than 6,900 members in 106 countries, 69 national
Chapters, and 14 Special Interest Groups (SIGs). IASP was founded in 1973 and
is governed by an international Council, made up of Officers and Councillors
elected by the members of the association.
IASP sponsors research symposia on specific pain-related topics and
provides grants, awards and fellowships to support international pain
research. Through its Developing Countries Project, IASP offers grants to
improve pain education for clinicians in developing countries. Each year IASP
launches the Global Day and Global Year Against Pain to raise awareness of
different aspects of pain. The headquarters office of IASP is in Seattle,
For further information:
For further information: Sejal Sedani, Resolute Communications,