Why Migraines Disproportionately Affect Women

A migraine is no ordinary headache. It is a crippling experience lasting anywhere from four hours to a staggering three days. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea, blurred vision, and hypersensitivity to light, smell, or sound.

Another unusual thing about migraines: they overwhelmingly affect women. Studies find that 85% of people who suffer from migraines are female.

It has long been assumed that hormones play a role in migraines. The female sex hormone estrogen, in particular, has long been linked with the occurrence of migraines. A recent study, published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, has found that female sex hormones sensitize the triminovascular nerve, a cranial nerve that is associated with migraines.

Researchers found that increased levels of estrogen make the trigeminal nerves more sensitive to migraine triggers. This explains why higher estrogen levels are associated with increased incidence of migraines.

The female sex hormone prolactin also interacts with the trigeminal nerve cells. However, prolactin is is not associated with frequency of migraines, but with their severity.

The researchers also found that the male sex hormone testosterone actually plays a protective role against migraine headaches.

The current research was not conducted on humans, however; future clinical studies will show how manipulating the levels of these hormones affect migraine incidence and severity. The results may allow clinicians to provide personalized hormonal therapy for migraines, granting much-needed relief for those who suffer from these debilitating headaches..

Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.

Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.

We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.

Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.

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