Living Room Logic – Irish Science Podcast


Do men feel more pain than women? w/ Dr Siobhain O'Mahony

Season 4, Ep. 41

What is more painful, a kick in the jewels or giving birth? Who REALLY experiences more pain: men or women? 

On today’s show, we sit down with Dr Siobhain O’ Mahony, a senior lecturer at University College Cork specializing in pain neuroscience, women's health, and the gut-brain axis.


Dr. Siobhain starts the conversation by defining pain syndromes, different types of pains for both genders, and sex differences in how we perceive pain. She also expounds on the relationship between pain and estrogen level fluctuations, why high estrogen levels cause pain resistance, as well as how it’s entangled with birth control methods.


Finally, we explore her research on the role of gut microbiota on anti-inflammatory & anti-pain properties, brain-gut microbiota axis, and healthy dietary changes or supplements that can target pain disorders such as probiotic intake.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


●     [01:09] Defining “pain syndrome/condition”


●     [02:27] Different types of pains


●     [04:29] Sex differences in how we perceive pain


●     [06:39] The science behind estrogen levels & pain


●     [11:36] Pain interaction with contraceptives


●     [13:55] Dr. Siobhain’s investigative research on gut microbiota


●     [19:59] Dietary changes to target pain disorders


●     [23:07] Sex difference pain in irritable bowel syndrome


Key Quotes by Professor Dr. Siobhain O’Mahony:

●     It’s not the levels of estrogen that are important with regard to sexes & sex differences in pain. It’s the fluctuation levels that we have.

●     Maintaining a healthy gut microorganism environment is really key to well-being.

●     Women have a lower threshold & lower tolerance to pain stimulation than men.


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