posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: No Pain, No Gain"


Explanation: Researchers have concluded that women and men feel pain differently, but can women handle more of it, especially if they've experienced that pain pinnacle known as childbirth? MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage recruited a group of tough volunteers to determine a winner in the gender pain-tolerance contest.

Jamie and Adam subjected their hardy contestants to the cold pressor test, the go-to pain induction technique used by academic researchers. The test involves plunging an arm into a bone-chilling ice-water bath and holding it in the freezing depths until the pain becomes unbearable. To isolate their results and ensure that the participants didn't know that they were competing against the opposite sex, the MythBusters had each man and woman go in one by one to practically freeze his or her arm off.

Afterward, the MythBusters averaged the groups' times to see which group withstood the cold temperatures longer. In a painful victory, women endured the ice bath for an average 16.1 seconds longer than men. Also, and as suspected, the women who had given birth without painkillers outdid everyone, further confirming the myth and the pain threshold-raising effects of having babies.

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