Migraines worsen in perimenopause

Menopause often brings relief to female migraine sufferers. However, many women have worsening of their migraines during the transition. This is thought to be due to the fluctuating levels of estrogen, which is also responsible for menstrual migraines. Steady levels of estrogen during pregnancy and in menopause lead to a dramatic relief of migraines in two out of three women.

A study published in a recent issue of the journal Headache examined the relationship of headache frequency to the stages of menopause. The study looked at 3446 women with migraines with a mean age of 46. Among women who were premenopausal, 8% had high frequency of headaches (10 or more headache days each month), while during perimenopause as well as menopause, 12% of women had high frequency of migraines. This does not contradict the fact that many women stop having migraines in menopause, but it suggests that among those women who continue having migraines, there are more with high frequency of attacks.

By publishing these findings, the authors wanted to draw attention to the fact that many women may need a more aggressive approach to treatment. In women with high frequency of attacks preventive therapies tend to be more effective than abortive ones. These may include magnesium, CoQ10, Boswellia, and other supplements, as well as preventive medications and Botox injections. At the same time, most women may also need to take abortive therapies, such as triptans.

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