Home » Health » Why are Migraines More Common with Women?

Why are Migraines More Common with Women?

A migraine is basically a headache that can cause a throbbing or pulsing sensation on one side of your head. It is often accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. But did you know women are more prone to developing a migraine more than men?

Migraines are three times more common in women than in men since they are biologically based. Fluctuating estrogen levels can contribute to the development of chronic headaches and migraines.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a type of headache described as a throbbing pain. People who experience migraines are also nauseous and sensitive to light and sound. These attacks can last for hours or even days, and the pain can be so severe that it starts to interfere with your daily activities.

Before an attack happens, there is a warning symptom called the aura. The aura occurs before the headache. It is characterized as visual disturbances like flashes of light or blind spots. Other times, it can also manifest as tingling on one side of the face or an arm or leg. Others may even have difficulty speaking.

Some medications can help prevent some migraines and to make them more bearable. With the proper medication, and combination of self-help remedies, and lifestyle changes, you may be able to avoid migraines altogether. (Source: Mayo Clinic)

Why Women Suffer with More Migraines?

Years ago, people often attributed women’s inability to cope with stress to hysteria. But with today’s advancement in the medical field, scientists found out that migraines are actually biologically based, which explains why more women are afflicted with them than men.

A migraine is a spectacular neuro-physiological event that involves bursts of electrical activity that start in the vision center of the brain. This is why the headaches like this include a visual aura, those jagged lines or sparkling lights, that commonly occur in 20 to 30 percent of migraine patients.

Dr. Andrew Charles, Director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program, UCLA Department of Neurology

Charles says that the pounding sensation of the migraine is generated from deep within the brain. It occurs simultaneously with the electrical wave as it traverses the brain. But there is one major trigger, which is why women have more migraines than men.

Migraines can be triggered by hormonal fluctuation. Migraines are slightly more common in boys than girls until girls begin menstruation. And once girls begin to menstruate, and hormones begin to fluctuate up and down, the number of their migraines increases dramatically. The main culprit is estrogen, although researchers think other hormones may also be involved. But the uncertainty contributes to the difficulty of migraine treatment.

Dr. Jan Lewis Brandes, Neurologist, Founder of the Nashville Neuroscience Group

(Source: NPR)

Is There A Way to Cure Migraines?

Some medications can help reduce the pain and length of a migraine. Other medicines lessen the frequency of the attacks, but unfortunately, there is no cure. As many as 50% of all patients say that the treatment prescribed to them isn’t effective.

Finding an effective treatment to reduce the frequency of attacks is vital, which is precisely why UCLA’s neurology department is hard at work to find one.

We’ve begun to see from researchers that the frequency of migraine attack is linked to permanent changes in the brain, and I think that changes the playing field for patients and those of us who take care. We really need to think carefully about how to control the frequency of attacks and really need to do it earlier rather than later.

Dr. Jan Lewis Brandes, Neurologist, Founder of the Nashville Neuroscience Group

(Source: NPR)

Leave a Comment