Judy Foreman, author of A Nation in Pain: Healing our Biggest Health Problem, looks at the prevalence of chronic pain and how we treat it differently in men and women. (via oupacademic)
I’m horrified but not astonished.
Yeah if the researchers were astonished, that… says a lot about them.
From a medical science perspective: the first question that comes to mind is ‘what sedatives were they given?’
Because while it actually wouldn’t surprise me at all if women are getting maltreated medically - systemic discrimination is a thing! - there are also real differences in response to analgesics based on what hormones your system is running on.
Check out this 2008 article, of which I shall quote the first sentence of the abstract: “Opioid-based narcotics are the most widely prescribed therapeutic agent for the alleviation of persistent pain; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that morphine is significantly less potent in women compared to men.” … Turns out that different hormone levels significantly impact opioid receptor function.
There are also drugs more effective in women than men. The piece I just linked there talks about drugs that act on kappa-opioid receptors (the odd ducks of the opioid receptor family) but also look up ‘adjuvant analgesics’ - I believe I remember something about GABA-ergic drugs being more effective on pain in women, though I can’t locate it right now and I suspect it might have been women with a particular condition, maybe fibromyalgia? And GABA-ergic drugs are also generally… sedatives. Yeah, it’s complicated. (I ran into this particular area of pharmacology when discovering that cyclobenzaprine didn’t do what it was supposed to do - relax my muscles so I wouldn’t get migraines in the morning due to my hypermobility disorder - but clonazepam does for me what cyclobenzaprine is supposed to.)
I guess this is all just to amount to a cautionary note in favor of reading a study before drawing conclusions from a headline about a study. There are a lot of things in medicine that desperately need to be criticized, a lot of routines that desperately need to be rewritten, and if we are to make these changes, our opprobrium must find its targets accurately.
aside from being cissexist the whole XX = female and XY = male thing is Straight-Up Wrong
AFAB people can have XO, XXX, XXXX and XY chromosomes while AMAB people have have XXYY, XYY, and XX chromosomes and since the majority of the population never has their karyotype examined, they’ll never know that they have one of these chromosomal quirks unless that specific combination has associated symptoms, and not all of them do. you could literally have one of the aforementioned combinations without even knowing it and meanwhile you’re insisting that all AFAB people are XX and that anyone else who has this must also be female
we could also talk about how hormonal patterns for XX persons can naturally and biologically mirror that of a typical XY person, or vis versa, which gives rise to things like androgen insensitivity disorder. here u have it, folks, an whole group of intersex people who have XY chromosomes and testicles and vulva and vagina, all grown naturally, all at the same time.
the number of people who are intersex mirror the number of people who are born with red hair, but no one goes around trying to say that red isn’t a natural hair colour just because the phenotype doesn’t manifest in the majority of the population.
gonna ramble for a bit because this was one of my MOST favourite things I learned about in genetics. This was something I’d wanted to know all up until 3rd year and I had asked around my friends/classmates and everyone was like “no way, no, the X and Y chromosomes can’t cross over in meiosis, they’re different chromosomes!” and this always bothered me because. Of course they pair up! They need to pair up, else how would they separate properly? And by that measure, of course some crossing over would have to happen, because that’s just the way it goes.
So some people narrowed it down like oh maybe just the homologous areas can be recombinant. And maybe this was why I was so blown away when I learned this was wrong! That the region with the SRY gene can actually be transferred to the X chromosome - which happens RARELY but it can still happen and it was like!!! The gender distinction was just ripped away and I was kinda like wow. Wow everyone has genes that different people of any gender can have on or off. High or low. And biological sex is part of that. It’s variable. And I just.
(I feel like I should add that people that are born XY female (Swyer syndrome) and people who are born XX male (de la Chapelle syndrome) are born sterile but w/e)
science. genetics. gender. so cool.