Exploring the relationship between sex, pain catastrophizing and abdominal pain sensitivity in a healthy, pain-free population
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Given a significant lack of literature focused on abdominal pain sensitivity between the sexes, this paper aims to explore how biological males and females processing abdominal pain stimuli differently. Additionally, the differences between males and females as it pertains to pain catastrophizing is explored. To examine sensory processing differences, the German Research Network’s quantitative sensory testing protocol was conducted on the abdomens of 186 healthy, pain-free participants (66.1% female, 33.9% male). Ultimately, there were significant results that suggested a difference in the sensory processing of males and females. Females were more sensitive to pressure and thermal pain stimuli than males, which was consistent with prevailing literature. In regards to pain catastrophizing, the results from this study suggested no difference between males and females in a healthy, pain-free population, which was inconsistent with prevailing literature. The results of this study suggest that clinicians should use a more individualized approach with pain patients, with the consideration that each patient responds to pain stimuli differently, partially due to their biological sex.
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