Migraines Get Worse Around Menopause

Carla Rabassa, M.D.
Internal Medicine, FIU Health

If you’re a middle-aged woman who suffers from migraines, this will hardly come as a surprise, but maybe you’ll appreciate the validation.  A new study confirms what women migraineurs have been telling their doctors for years, the migraines get worse around menopause.

migraines get worse"In women who have migraine, headaches increase by 50 to 60 percent when they go through the perimenopause [just before menopause] and menopausal time periods," said Vincent Martin, M.D., professor of medicine and co-director of the Headache and Facial Pain Program at the University of Cincinnati.

Martin acknowledges this is hardly news to women who have migraines, but he notes this is “the first study to demonstrate that the frequency of migraine attacks increases during the menopausal transition.” Now that we have hard evidence, and an incling that falling estrogen levels may be to blame, more studies are needed to figure out how to deal with the problem.

The study surveyed just over 3,600 women, ages 35-65. In the United States more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. 70% of them are women.