Women and Migraines
Women are more likely than men to experience migraine headaches. In fact, an estimated 3 out of every 4 people who have migraines are women. And migraines in women tend to be more painful and longer-lasting. Women also tend to report more migraine symptoms (such as nausea and vomiting) than do men with migraines. A few of the factors that can contribute to migraines in women include hormones, stress, and menopause.
An Overview of Women and Migraines
A migraine headache is a severe pain felt on one, and sometimes both, sides of the head. The pain is mostly in the front, around the temples, or behind one eye or ear. Besides pain, you may have nausea and vomiting, and may be very sensitive to light and sound (see Migraine Symptoms).
According to the National Headache Foundation, an estimated 28 million Americans have migraine headaches. It is also estimated that 3 out of every 4 (or 21 million) people with migraines are women.
Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 35 and 45; this is often a time when women have more job, family, and social commitments. Women also tend to report higher levels of pain, longer headache time, and more symptoms (such as nausea and vomiting), compared to men with migraines.
Causes of Migraines in WomenAlthough numerous factors contribute to migraines (see Migraine Triggers), there are some common causes that may trigger migraines in women, including:
The relationship between female hormones and migraines is still unclear. Over half of women with migraines report having them right before, during, or after their periods. This is often called a "menstrual migraine." However, just a small fraction of these women have migraines only at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.