Diagnose REDHEAD

If you are not a redhead you may think this is a silly diagnose. But being one, I can tell you it is very common. 

Over the last few decades I have had things happen to me that I really could not figure out. Often Doctors would look at me stumped. I could feel and describe things they were baffled by. I often walked away being told “It must be because you are a redhead!”

It is a fact that redheads have a higher tolerance for pain. There are many medical studies done about this. I think the reason is because we are so sensitive to it. We can feel every little thing. In turn, we can manage our pain better. Plus we really do not have a choice. Pain medication and anesthesia do not work on us as well as others. I have experienced this myself and asked others. They have confirmed they have the same issues when it comes to pain. 

A few times I have experienced “redhead” diagnosis are :

During pregnancy- I swear I felt the second I became pregnant. Being sensitive to pain, you tend to know your body well. Each pregnancy I knew I was pregnant, early. I could feel things changing and went into the Dr to confirm. During delivery and after I was always left in the hospital longer than normal. When I asked why, they stated because I was a redhead they wanted to keep an eye on me. 

Redheads are known for having low Iron and for being bleeders. 

At the dentist- When getting work done on my teeth the dentist is always amazed at how much freezing they have to use. when I ask if this is normal, he replied “Well for you as you are a redhead. It makes sense” 

The first few times I heard this I kind of laughed thinking they were clueless and just guessing. But after living in many provinces and seeing many different medical professionals all saying this. I now find myself saying it as well. 

Most recently I went to the ER with feelings of tingling. The left side of my body from my head to my toe was tingling. The Dr said it was a “body migraine” and to take ibuprofen. I described feelings they normally only see using expensive machines. She said  it was amazing and made sense I could feel this. I laughed and said it must be because I am a redhead and I feel things many do not. She agreed and said she has seen the tests to back it up. 


It seems like a strange reason for one to feel the things they do. However redheads have a mutation in a hormone receptor. “Specifically, redheads have a mutatedmelanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene that produces an altered receptor for MSH. Melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment in skin and hair, use the MC1R to recognize and respond to MSH from the anterior pituitary gland. Melanocyte-stimulating hormone normally stimulates melanocytes to make black eumelanin, but if the melanocytes have a mutated receptor, they will make reddish pheomelanin instead. MC1R also occurs in the brain, where it is one of a large set of POMC-related receptors that are apparently involved not only in responding to MSH, but also in responses to endorphins and possibly other POMC-derived hormones. Though the details are not clearly understood, it appears that there is some “cross talk” between the POMC hormones that may explain the link between red hair and pain tolerance.” Source Wikipedia


Just like anything in life, with good comes bad and vise versa. I love being a redhead. However I could live without the sun wanting to burn me and feeling every little pain my body feels it needs to make me aware of. But I will enjoy being unique and having a reason for my fiery temper 🙂 

If you are a redhead, have you ever been told the reason for your problem or discomfort was, “Because you are a redhead”?


  1. Psychsarah says

    This is fascinating as my 3 month old daughter has beautiful red hair. Only time will tell if it will stay red (mine was reddish as a babe but darkened over time) but if she stays a ginger I’ll have to remember about the pain tolerance.

  2. For years I have been told "it is because you are a redhead". I'm the same at the dentist, I require double or sometimes triple the amount of freezing. I love being a redhead, and even though I have a mutated gene, I would not change anything.
    My recent post Learning to live with our kids again

  3. mamabear6910 says

    I will have to remember this for my daughter!!

  4. I've been a red head for 38 years and that does not apply to me. I am more sensitive to all oral medications and more susceptible to side effects. Now I skip most head cold and sinus meds in favor of nasal sprays, and I've also had a major thyroid disorder.. (which can be related to calcium and iodine intake issues) so beware- not all redheads are the same.. Are we all highly intuitive? I love that side of me!

  5. Victoria Ess says

    I have never heard of this and expected this post to fully be a joke! I have a lot of friends who would be happy to know this!

  6. thriftymommagogo says

    I have only ever been a redhead in university. And that was courtesy of Loreal. I never knew any of this. That's really bizarre. WTH is a body migraine?! That's a bit frightening. I think it makes sense the sensitivity bit though.
    My recent post Harlem GlobeTrotters World Tour #PTPAGLOBIES

  7. Elva Roberts says

    I have a nephew and a neice that are redheads and first cousins that are redheads but most of the facts in your blog on Diagnose Redhead were completely unknown to me. I love learning and I do so every day I am on blogs.

  8. kathy downey says

    This is a very interesting post,thanks

  9. Kim Tanti says

    I don't know about the pain thing being Red head. My daughter has brown hair and she has a very high tolerance for pain. She was hit by a large pick up truck. Nocked off her bike and ended up under the truck at the age of 9 and never shed a tear. she was bruised and banged up.

  10. Interesting about the "pain medication and anesthesia not working as well ". I must pay closer attention to that statement to see if it applies to some of our red headed dental patients?

  11. Elaine Buonsante says

    My 28 year old son is a red head…I'm looking forward to some great discussions with him when he gets home from work. My other 4 kids have blonde, black and brown hair. When they were younger people often thought that they were adopted.

  12. kathy downey says

    Thanks for the very interesting read !

  13. alexanernberg says

    Very interesting. I have never heard of this before, but I will take your word for it.

  14. ellen chevarie says

    I have heard of this in redheads.my daughters boyfriend is a redhead.i don't know about his pain tolerance but he has a great personality.

  15. My mother has always claimed that doctor's should be made aware that she was a red head before she went silver!

  16. I have found that yes there are red heads in our family as we are Scotish Decent BUT my son and I have red pigments in our hair When you turn to the light you can see the red in both of our hair Our hair is dark I have a very strong tolerance to pain even the doctors in the hospital cannot believe it ..My son he I think may have cried a total of 5 times total for pain..He just does not cry he tolerates it so much I dont even understand when he gets hurt and should cry he does not BUT I cringe

  17. Teresa Claire says

    This is all very interesting. I felt that I was pregnant I swear the second it happened. Although I don't have red hair I do have a red sort of highlight that is natural. I loved reading this post!

  18. I'm also a redhead and have been told they we bleed easily and bruise easily. Interesting post!

  19. I'm a natural-born redhead, too. No one ever told me a medical thing was because I'm a redhead. When I had dental work done, my dentist was impressed with how many times I asked for more injected anesthetic, so my tolerance was lower. OTOH, the midwife and nurse at my second kid's birth were impressed because I used no medication, so a high tolerance!

  20. maria griffin says

    I'm going to have to show my son in law who is a ginger as well. But I have to say to speaking as a photography enthusiast, flaming red hair is so stunning that I'd trade even with all this.

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