Approximately half of all women who seek clinical treatment for migraines have reported an association between migraine and menstruation, and a recent study confirms their experience. In another, unrelated study researchers have identified a drug therapy that is effective in reducing the occurrence or the severity and duration of menstrually associated migraines. Details and outcomes of both studies, and a related editorial, are published in the July 27 issue of Neurology.
Nearly one in five adult women experience migraine headaches, compared with one in twenty adult men. Menstrual migraine is defined as headache that occurs regularly in close relationship to the onset of menstruation (between two days prior to and during the first three days of bleeding). Until recently, studies documenting migraine and menstruation have included small numbers of women over few cycles, often combining data from women using hormonal treatments with those who were not. Also, data has not been collected regarding the difference between menstrual versus non-menstrual migraine attacks within the same woman, rather than comparing attacks within a total population.
Researchers from the City of London Migraine Clinic analyzed diary data from 155 women patients. All of the women tracked at least two cycles, with nearly half of the patients keeping diary cards over the course of four or more menstrual cycles.
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