Red haired people do not feel more pain: doctors
Published 10/12/2010 | 11:59
People with red hair do not feel more pain or bleed more after operations, despite doctors' fears that they do, it has emerged.
Doctors treat red heads with trepidation, an article in the British Medical Journal said, because of their reputation for complications.
But surgeon Jonathan Barry from Morriston Hospital in Swansea and colleagues checked the evidence for such worries and found it was flimsy at best.
He wrote in the BMJ: "Red haired patients are traditionally regarded with a degree of trepidation by surgeons and anaesthetists alike due to a reputation for excessive bleeding, reduced pain threshold and a propensity to develop hernias."
Some small studies had found that people with red hair needed more anaesthetic and another found they were more sensitive to cold and heat pain than others but the evidence was limited, the authors said.
There was no evidence of increased bleeding.