Estrogen and migraine

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.

More on hormonal headache.

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2 comments… add one
  • Patrice Marotta Mar 23, 2009

    I also suffer from ” hormonal migraines” among many other kinds. My hormonal migraines were horrifying, they were resistant to any treatment I just had to lie there with my arm over my head to put pressure on my skull and wait till it ended. I am now on Seasonique birth control and have not had a period in over a year and I do not get regular hormonal migraines anymore. Clinically, I also have very low amounts of estrogen in my body so the articles regarding estrogen and migraines are very helpful and right on the money.

  • KC Mar 24, 2009

    I have suffered from migraines for many years. I have tried numerous treatments and seen just as many doctors. I take a few different medications for migraines, but the combination only seems to help when I am on a no estrogen birth control. I currently take Errin and do not have menstral migraines because I do not have a monthly cycle. When my doctor changed my birth control to a type with estrogen and my cycle returned, so did the migraines. As soon as I got back on the no estrogen birth control the menstral migraines went away. I am a true believer in the estrogen link.

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