Spotlight On: Women and Migraine

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Migraine is more common in little boys than girls till they reach puberty; then in adolescence girls surge ahead.  By then, three times more females than males experience migraine. And in about half of teen girls, migraine is associated with their menstrual cycle. The change in prevalence is thought to be related to fluctuations in hormones which may make girls more susceptible to migraine. Over a lifetime, migraines in women are often associated with hormonal shifts  – such as during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. The articles in the section will show you how hormones influence migraine.

During puberty, two main hormonal systems become active:  Gonadoptropic-hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which ultimately stimulates the release of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone which in turn directly affect neuronal networks in the brain, and Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: the circuit that starts, regulates and stops a stress response.

If you’re interested in more scientific information on female hormones and how they work in migraine:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969996114000692

http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/x/systematic-review/0318/overview.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311830/

 

Many thanks to Nada Hindiyeh, MD

 

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