Migraines Worsen With Menopause

Migraines Worsen With Menopause

Doctors already know that women are three times more susceptible to migraines than men, and a new study is seeking to shine a light on one particular aspect of women’s migraine affinity—increased migraine frequency and pain for women going through menopause. Vincent Martin, MD, who led the study along with other researchers from  the University of Cincinnati (UC), Montefiore Headache Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Vedanta Research, says that the risk of high frequency headaches (10 or more headaches per month) increases 60% for middle-aged women during late perimenopause, when estrogen drops and women first start missing menstrual periods. During menopause the risk of high frequency headaches increases by 76%. The researchers found that while changes in estrogen and progesterone can certainly account for some of this spike, there’s another key culprit: overuse of prescription pain medications, which have been known to exacerbate headaches. Co-author Jelena Pavlovic, MD, recommends hormonal treatments for women in the perimenopausal and menopausal stages to level out the effects of changing estrogen and progesterone levels. Decreased use of prescription pain medication could also help lower migraine frequency.

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