Sex, Race, and Genomics of Pain

  • Xiaomei CongEmail author
  • Zewen Tan
  • Tessa Weidig


Differences in pain genomics between sex, gender, and race/ethnicity lead to differential clinical pain assessment and diagnosis, and therefore variable use of management and treatment. Generally, women experience higher rates of pain and have lower pain tolerance. Additionally, non-Hispanic Whites have the least severe chronic and acute pain. Variants and SNPs in the COMT, GCH1, and OPRM family of genes have been associated with higher pain sensitivity both in clinical and experimental settings for women compared to men. For the transgender population, hormonal treatment causes the pain sensitivity of the patient to be that of the converted sex instead of the birth. Differences in the aforementioned genes also account for the variance in pain experience and tolerance between races, where ethnic minorities tend to have lower tolerance. These racial and sex differences in pain genomics are important to understand in order to provide the best pain management and care for all patients.


Culture Ethnicity Pain Sex 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Advancement in Managing Pain, University of Connecticut School of NursingStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Biobehavioral Research Laboratory, University of Connecticut School of NursingStorrsUSA
  3. 3.University of Connecticut, Molecular and Cell BiologyStorrsUSA
  4. 4.University of Connecticut School of NursingStorrsUSA
  5. 5.Connecticut Pediatrics at Community Health CenterHartfordUSA

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