Sensation and pain relating to the gut may be influenced by sex.
In this study, researchers from Denmark evaluated sex differences in an experimental multimodal stimulation of the esophagus in 22 age-matched men and women.
The team positioned a probe in the lower part of the esophagus.
They applied mechanical stimuli as distensions with a bag using an impedance planimetric method.
The distensions were done before and after relaxation of the smooth muscle.
The team performed thermal stimulation by recirculating water at 1 and 60oC in the bag.
The researchers assessed sensory intensities during the stimulations, and the referred pain area was drawn at maximum pain intensities.
The team found that there was an increased sensation to mechanical stimuli in men for volume, pressure, and tension. However, cross-sectional area and strain showed no sex difference.
There were also no differences identified for hot and cold stimulations.
The team determined that the mean size of the referred pain areas to the different stimuli was 23.6 cm2 in men and 48.7 cm2 in women.
Dr Jan Pedersen's team concluded, "No robust sex differences were observed in the assessments of the multimodal stimulations".
"However, the larger referred pain area in females reflects sex differences in central pain processing, which may explain the female preponderance in functional disorders relating to the gut".