Why Does Chronic Pain Affect So Many Women?

Chronic pain conditions impact women health

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Millions of American women are affected by chronic pain every year. 12.1 million women over the age of 18 report experiencing pain symptoms from conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia.

But only 8.7 million are receiving treatment. That's according to 2008 numbers recently released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The report broke the statistics down to reveal important findings about the populations who suffer from chronic pain, who gets treatment, and how that treatment is paid for.

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Not all women who suffer from chronic pain are receiving treatment.

Findings included:

  • 1 million more women aged 45 – 64 received treatment for pain conditions than women over 65.
  • White non-Hispanic women received treatment higher rates than those who were black or Hispanic.
  • Women with pain conditions had mean health expenditures which were more than double of women who didn't have pain conditions.
  • A total of $12.9 billion was spend on treatment of women with pain conditions, in 2008.
  • Expenditures for women with pain conditions averaged $1,478 per person.
  • Over 40 percent of these expenditures were spent during emergency visits to the hospital.
  • Over two-thirds of the costs for pain treatment were paid by private insurance. Less than 15 percent were paid out of pocket.
  • Women who were on public insurance, like Medicaid, had higher expenditures than those who were on private insurance.

All statistics pertain to the year 2008. Data for this report were gathered from the MEPS 2008 Full Year Consolidated Data File (HC-121), Medical Conditions Files (HC-120), Office- Based Medical Provider Visits File (HC-118G), Outpatient Visits File (HC-118F), Hospital Inpatient Stays File (HC-118D), Home Health File (HC-118H), Emergency Room Visits File (HC-118E), and Prescribed Medicines File (HC-118A).

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is a Rockville, Maryland-based federal agency which supports research to improve U.S. healthcare.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 22, 2011
Last Updated:
October 24, 2011