Migraine Headaches

What Is the Prognosis?

Taking a combination of drugs to prevent and treat migraine headaches when they happen helps most people limit the disabling effects of these headaches.
Women whose migraine attacks occur in association with their menstrual cycle are likely to have fewer attacks and milder symptoms after menopause.

Statistics on Migraine Headaches

According to the National Headache Foundation, an estimated 28 million Americans have migraine headaches. The World Health Organization considers these headaches to be one of the most debilitating diseases in the world. In addition, an estimated 14 million Americans have undiagnosed migraine headaches.
Migraines are the second most prevalent headache syndrome in the United States. Statistics show that 157 million workdays each year are lost due to the severity of migraine headaches.
Migraines are more prevalent in women. They affect three times more women than men (see Women and Migraines). Estrogen levels are a key trigger for increased migraine headaches in women. However, it is not known how changes in estrogen levels trigger them. Women often report that their migraine headaches occur during or right before the onset of their menstrual cycle. In addition, some women experience migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies have also been shown to cause more severe migraines. Pregnancy may or may not increase the frequency or severity of migraines (see Pregnancy and Migraines).

When to Seek Help

Nearly half of the people in the United States who have migraine headaches do not get diagnosed and treated. The National Headache Foundation suggests you talk with your healthcare provider about your headaches if:
  • You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
  • Your migraine headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
  • You have nausea, vomiting, vision problems, or other sensory problems.
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Migraine Information

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