International Women’s Day 2023: The Gender Pain Gap

The gender pain gap refers to the disparity in the way that pain is perceived, diagnosed, and treated between men and women. In light of International Women’s Day which took place on Wednesday 8th March, we are dedicating this week’s blog to the misdiagnosis of chronic pain and long-term health conditions in women. This ‘gender pain gap’ impacts millions of women in the UK, with many accepting pain as the norm. Keep reading to learn how medical cannabis could be pivotal in supporting women that are living with such conditions yet are often misdiagnosed or left untreated.

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How many women are living with chronic pain in the UK? 

In the UK alone, there are 28 million people suffering from chronic pain, 70% of which are women. However, women are evidently faced with a gender pain gap as they are more likely to be misdiagnosedor their conditions are not taken as seriously as male patients. This is prevalent in conditions such as endometriosis which can take up to 8 years to diagnose even though it impacts 1.5 million women in the UK. 

This is also common  in other chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and PCOS which have very limited research on them, despite impacting the everyday lives of millions of women. It therefore isn’t surprising that our data revealed that 79% of women in the UK have accepted physical pain and discomfort as the norm for themselves. If this stat rings true to you, you are not alone. We will soon be publishing our ground-breaking research that investigated the magnitude of pain in the UK, with a regional breakdown of who is most impacted and what options are available for those living with chronic pain. Subscribe to our newsletter here to be the first to know of its release date.  

‘It’s taken me 8 years to get the correct endometriosis diagnosis’ Adrienne, MAMEDICA patient

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What is the gender pain gap?

The gender pain gap is a form of discrimination within healthcare where unconscious medical bias contributes to women’s pain being written off either as a normal part of womanhood or as a matter of little relevance. Not only are women less likely to be given the help they need for their conditions, but their conditions are considered of less importance.

Our nationwide research revealed that 1 in 4 women have tried at least three different medications for their chronic pain but have not found them to be effective. The lack of research and the biased attitude from medical professionals towards these conditions impacts millions of women that continue to live in pain. It shows that women often have limited options, so choose to take their pain into their own hands and look for alternative treatments.

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Where does medical cannabis come in? 

Although medical cannabis was legalised in 2018, there is still a significant lack of awareness on the benefits it can have on easing the symptoms associated with chronic conditions that impact women, such as endometriosis and PCOS. It may be surprising, or comforting for our patients to know, that the symptoms of both conditions can be relieved with cannabis-based products. The two cannabinoids, THC and CBD, are proven to ease pain as well as the various other symptoms that are associated with both endometriosis and PCOS. If you’re dealing with one of these conditions and are yet to find a treatment that works for you, check your eligibility for medical cannabis treatment with Mamedica. 

Our specialist consultants ensure that you feel heard and seen however debilitating your condition may be. Once you’ve checked your eligibility for treatment with us, you’ll have a consultation with one of our doctors who will prescribe your bespoke treatment plan. To learn more about Mamedica and our healthcare professionals, click here.