Recently the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle featured a story by Erin Allday headlined "Women found to report far more pain than men." This is news? I could have written the whole thing without a Stanford study.
But here it is. The study theorizes that it could be hormonal (we're programmed to feel stuff) or philosophical (we pause to consider stuff) or site specific: "If I lined up 10 men and 10 women and I took a hammer and broke their legs exactly the same, the 10 women would report more pain than men," said UCSF rheumatologist Dr. Jon Levine (who studies the causes and mechanisms of pain, Allday writes.) Well, yes. Break my legs with a hammer and I will definitely report a 10, on a scale of 1 to 10. My 9 broken-legged sisters will undoubtedly express themselves with similar emphasis.
Our hammered brethren, however, will probably check in at around five or six. It is the nature of the gender.
Males of the species just suck it up. Keep a stiff upper lip. Grin (or don't grin) and bear it. I don't know who started all that foolishness, but it was definitely somebody who didn't think things through. You suck it up, it immediately gets squashed down, and there you are, pained for life, and God forbid you should take pain pills. (You are likely to be depressed for life, but pain pills aren't manly either, so you're stuck.)
My data is anecdotal, but who's going to argue with a Stanford study? My database includes one husband to whom I said, one day, "You know, you are really yellow. You've got to go to the doctor." He was yellow because his gall bladder what so shot that any normal person -- certainly any female type -- would've felt a few twinges a week or two earlier. Hopefully, his sky-high pain tolerance level is not typical of the male of the species; it's fine when you're young and macho, but time comes when a little pain is useful. (The difference between vacuuming out a minimally offended gall bladder through a tiny cut and having to slit you halfway down the midsection to clean up all that mess.)
At any rate, I say tackle pain early on and complain loudly. It's worked for me all these years, and now I'm glad to know I've got plenty of company in the sisterhood.
Causes Fran Johns Supports
Compassion & Choices of N.CA
San Francisco Interfaith Council