One-third of women experience menstruation-related migraines, most often during premenopause - study

April 13, 2024  16:43

One-third of the nearly 20 million women who participated in a national medical study report migraines during menstruation, and of those, 11.8 million, or 52.5 per cent, are premenopausal. The analysis was conducted by researchers from Georgetown University Medical Centre and Pfizer, which makes the migraine drug.

The researchers used results from the U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey 2021, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, to analyse responses from women who reported their current migraine treatment, frequency of migraine, and disability using the Migraine Disability Assessment Test (MIDAS).

The study found that all women had migraine attacks up to 4.5 times during menstruation and that monthly migraine headaches alone lasted an average of 8.4 days; 56.2% of women had moderate to severe migraine-specific impairment, which was rated the highest on the MIDAS scale.

When looking at the treatments that the women surveyed used to manage their migraine symptoms, 42.4% used over-the-counter medications and 48.6% used prescription medications. Of the 63.9 per cent of women who used migraine treatments for acute symptoms, the most commonly used were triptans, a class of drugs developed in the 1990s to calm the increased nerve activity associated with migraine and cluster headaches.

 "The differences in the frequency of migraine attacks associated with menstruation are likely due to the fact that premenopausal women have more regular menstrual cycles and therefore more menstruation-related migraines. In addition, as women approach their 40s and enter perimenopause, hormone levels tend to rise during the month, which also leads to more frequent migraine attacks," the researchers concluded.

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