Hormonal contraceptive pill effect on pain sensitivity response

  • Hannah Wilson Centre for Pain Research, School of Clinical and Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK.
  • Osama A Tashani Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK.
Keywords: Cold pressor test, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Pain intensity, Pain response, Pain threshold, Pain tolerance, Pain unpleasantness

Abstract

Background and Aim: Estrogen strongly influences nociceptive actions, whereas progesterone prevents the neuropathic pain. However, there is only a little evidence on the direct effect of hormonal‑based drugs on the experimental pain sensitivity response. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of hormonal combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) on pain sensitivity. Methods: A total of 45 participants (15 men [control], 15 women [using COCP], and 15 women menstruating naturally) were subjected to cold pressor test. Participants relaxed their least dominant arm in a 32°C water bath (3 min) and then the hand was plunged into an ice slurry bath (0°C–2°C). The time taken for the participant to report the pain was recorded as pain threshold. The time from pain threshold to the participant no longer able to tolerate the pain was recorded as pain tolerance. Pain intensity and pain unpleasantness were recorded using the visual analog scale. Results: The pain tolerance was significantly greater (P = 0.02) in women using COCP compared to control women (women not on COCP) and men. The pain unpleasantness was significantly decreased (P = 0.04) in COCP women compared to control women (women not on COCP) and men. Conclusion: Women using COCP have more tolerance and less unpleasantness to the pain threshold. They appear to respond differently than women menstruating naturally to cold pressor pain, which may be due to psychological, social, or environmental factors that need to be evaluated in future studies. Key words: Cold pressor test, combined oral contraceptive pill, pain intensity, pain response, pain threshold, pain tolerance, pain unpleasantness

Published
2016-10-31
How to Cite
Wilson, H., & Tashani, O. A. (2016). Hormonal contraceptive pill effect on pain sensitivity response. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Physiology, 3(4), 166-169. Retrieved from http://ijcep.org/index.php/ijcep/article/view/281