Not tonight, dear, I have a headache

Study finds women more likely to receive medication for headaches.

Published February 17, 2006 9:31PM (EST)

Women's experience of chronic pain has often been controversial, sometimes even being seen as antifeminist in its implications of fragility. A new study throws some interesting facts into the fray: Women are more likely to see their doctor about a headache, and they receive prescriptions for migraine medication more often than men, according to a BBC report.

The study -- published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry -- also found that men who complain of headache are more likely to be referred to a specialist.

So does this mean that women actually experience more severe headaches, or are they just generally more inclined to visit their primary-care physicians? And are men referred to specialists more often because their complaints are taken more seriously? Researchers say more work needs to be done before larger conclusions are drawn about equity in treatment.

Meanwhile, after perusing the report, I'm wondering whether any studies have been conducted about the effects of reading about headaches. Maybe I'm just highly suggestible?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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