Dr. Jan Lewis Brandes of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, recently did a survey of journal articles about the role of estrogen in migraine. She discovered, of course, that changes in estrogen levels does indeed play a big part in migraine attacks.
As The Daily Headache pointed out, this is really stating the obvious! Then again, there really are people that aren’t aware of this or simply don’t know much about it. Also, as Kerrie at the above link points out, anything that puts this information out into the medical forum is likely to help promote more research.
What specifically did the study discover? Well, the most obvious things are that migraine attacks are much more prevalent in women, and they change dramatically (generally) at different phases of life for those women. The study also found that menstrual migraines are more resistant to treatment, last longer and seem to be more debilitating than attacks at other times of the month. Estrogen seems to be a major factor, though not the only factor. It’s interaction with other functions in the body may explain part of what’s going on.
Finally, research still isn’t clear how estrogen therapies may help fight migraine. There has been success with triptan drugs, however.