Why Are Migraines More Common in Females?

Women and Migraines

More than 39 million Americans suffer from migraines and 28 million of those are women. Migraines are one of the leading serious health problems affecting women. 

Women experience migraines differently than men and report episodic pain (often for longer duration) and chronic pain more frequently than men. 

Hormones and Migraines in Females

According to research done by scientists at the Universitas Miquel Hernandez, the answer to why migraines are more common in women may lie with the activity of sex hormones. 

Changes in estrogen levels have been linked to more severe and frequent migraines. While testosterone appears to play a protective role, other hormones, such as prolactin, seem to intensify the severity of migraines. Researchers found that estrogen was tied to higher migraine prevalence in women during menstruation. They also found that certain types of migraine headaches were linked to changes in hormone levels around menstruation.

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Headaches in Teenage Females

Hormonal changes in females during the teen years can trigger migraines. Girls are more likely to have their first migraine during the year their periods begin than any other time in their lives. After puberty, migraines in women increase until age 40 or so, when it begins to decrease. 

How to Treat Migraines

If you think you might have migraines, schedule an appointment with your doctor specifically for headache evaluation. If you discuss headaches during a regular checkup, there may not be enough time to properly address your condition. When you arrive at your appointment, be prepared to provide your doctor with the information they’ll need to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, such as symptoms, patterns and characteristics, medications you’re taking, family history of migraines, and other medical conditions that may influence your headaches.

To treat your migraines, find a provider, or call your nearest Baptist health provider.

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