Women and Migraines

Did you know that, according to the American Migraine Foundation, women are three times more likely to get migraines compared to men? Regardless of how often they happen, migraine headaches can include disruptive and even debilitating symptoms ranging from pain and nausea to blurred vision and more. This condition can affect people of all ages, race and gender, but there is a significant hormone connection when it comes to migraines that makes the female population more susceptible.

The Cause of Migraines

A full understanding of what causes migraines is not yet determined. However, there are countless studies that confirm these headaches are triggered when abnormal substances are produced in the brain, which leads to inflammation and swollen blood vessels that press on nearby nerves.

While genetics may certainly play a role in your risk for migraines, there is an undeniable link between hormones and migraines in women. For females who experience migraines around their monthly menstrual cycle, this connection is easy to understand. Unfortunately, migraines that develop during the “PMS” stage of a woman’s cycle are said to be more severe than non-menstrual migraines.

The Role of Hormones in Migraines

The hormone that is linked to migraines is the female hormone estrogen. Studies report that when a woman’s period is about to begin, estrogen levels drop quickly and this abrupt imbalance is said to trigger migraine headaches in some patients. Sudden changes in estrogen can also occur after pregnancy/childbirth as well as during menopause, leaving women more vulnerable to this condition at these stages of life.

Other Migraine Triggers

Hormones are definitely not the only trigger for migraine headaches. Understanding your specific culprit can help you avoid missing work, school and other events due to this sometimes unbearable headache. In many cases, it is a combination of triggers that induce a migraine, which can include any of the following reported by the Office on Women’s Health


If you suspect that your migraines are linked to your menstrual cycle or other hormonal event, speak to your physician. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand how disruptive migraines can be, and we have remedies to help you manage and even avoid migraines attacks.



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