Amputation Affects Sexes Differently

TUESDAY Jan. 26, 2010 -- Men and women who've had limb amputations report similar levels of pain severity, but there are major gender differences in overall pain outcomes, such as emotional health and pain-coping responses, new research has found.

The study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Pain, included 335 adult patients who were asked about the presence of pain related to their amputated limbs. They were also asked to rate their pain intensity.

Pain due to a lost limb can be phantom limb pain (which feels like it's originating in the missing portion of the amputated limb) or residual limb pain (which originates at the amputation site or stump).

There were no significant gender differences in the presence or intensity of amputation-related pain. However, female patients reported greater overall pain intensity (other than from the amputation site), more anxiety about their pain and also were more likely to report that their pain interfered with their daily activities, the study authors noted.

The findings suggest that women may be more vulnerable to the negative functional consequences of limb loss pain, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine researchers. They also said women who've suffered the loss of a limb may suffer more psychological problems than men.

Learning more about how limb loss affects women and men differently can help doctors better manage patients' pain and negative mood following amputation, the researchers concluded.

More information

The Amputee Coalition of America has more about limb loss.

Posted: January 2010


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