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  • In the battle of the sexes we are fiercely divided, who has a worse when it

  • comes to pain?

  • On the one hand women are left with the task of fitting a watermelon sized

  • object through a coin sized hole. On the other hand, males protest that even the

  • slightest nick of their family jewels can leave them incapacitated.

  • So which hurts more, childbirth or getting kicked in the balls?

  • Before we begin there is a rumor that is circulating the internet claiming that

  • the human body can take up to 45 del units of pain and yet a mother feels

  • up to 57 del of pain during childbirth,

  • which is apparently equivalent to 20 bones being fractured at once.

  • The claim then goes on to suggest that being kicked in the balls brings more

  • than 9000 del of pain. Now apart from the absurd logic that both of

  • these events can surpass the alleged human limit it, actually uses a unit of

  • pain, the del, which doesn't even exist. There is a unit of pain once devised

  • called the dol, from the latin word for pain "dolor" but we will discuss this later.

  • To really evaluate this question we first need to understand what pain is,

  • which isn't an easy task.

  • There is actually a group of specialized nerve cells in your body called nociceptors

  • that react to pain.

  • Unlike other nerves which readily fire in response to normal touch or temperature,

  • nociceptors will only fire once a certain pain threshold has been passed. Some of

  • these nociceptors respond quickly sending signals to the spinal cord and brain

  • which produce sharp and sudden pain, allowing you to react quickly

  • while others transmit more slowly and are responsible for the prolonged dull

  • ache you feel. For males, testicles are internal organs that have migrated out

  • of the body cavity which we explain in a previous video you can check out here.

  • And well some internal organs such as the liver feel no pain, others like the

  • testicles are covered with many nociceptors making them extremely sensitive.

  • Afterall their well-being is of the utmost importance.

  • Furthermore the testicles are attached to many nerves in the stomach as well as

  • the vagus is nerve which is directly connected to the brains vomit center,

  • and this is why when hit the pain spreads throughout the abdomen.

  • The fact that testicles have minimal protection only strengthens the

  • accompanying symptoms of nausea, increased blood pressure, heart rate and sweating.

  • But not so fast gentlemen, even though childbirth may not be facing a direct

  • blow to any internal organs, the mechanical distension of the uterine

  • area also triggers nociceptors and causes the same kind of visceral pain.

  • Also consider that throughout evolution female human hips have become smaller

  • while babies heads have become larger. And not to mention labor lasts

  • 8 hours on average with a mixture of nausea, fatigue and pain.

  • On top of it all, tension and stretching of muscle and tissue increase as labour

  • intensifies creating sharp and localized pain.

  • Okay, so both obviously hurt and have a lot of mechanical stimulation sending

  • signals to the pain centers of the brain.

  • But this is where it gets tricky, because the pain isn't simply a physical

  • response but rather a partially perceptive or subjective experience.

  • This means that every single individual perceives pain in a slightly different

  • way. And not only between individuals but depending on your mood, alertness or even

  • previous experience pain may affect you differently.

  • It's for this reason that so many attempts to objectively measure pain have

  • failed including the dol system which we mentioned earlier.

  • Interestingly nearly 80% of upper limb amputees experience a

  • phenomenon known as "phantom limb pain".

  • That is they feel pain in a limb that is no longer there. And while little is

  • understood about the mechanism for the pain, it is clear that there is no

  • particular input to trigger the response and yet they still feel a very real

  • pain.

  • As such pain is not a stimulus it is an experience that is different for

  • everybody. Suffice to say both instances of childbirth and getting hit in the

  • balls can hurt alot.

  • So we call this one at tie, apart from the fact that the experiences are

  • completely different and there is so many variables to consider.

  • In some instances a man could experience more pain than his female

  • counterpart and vice versa. The main difference being one results in a newborn

  • baby, while the other potentially results in a decreased the chance of

  • having one.

  • Got of burning question you want answered? Ask it in the comments, or on facebook and twitter.

  • And subscribe to more weekly science videos.

In the battle of the sexes we are fiercely divided, who has a worse when it

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B1 INT US pain childbirth del limb experience nausea

Childbirth vs Getting Kicked in the Balls

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    Sara Wang   posted on 2013/09/03
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