Is there a connection between female hormones and migraine?
At puberty, the ratio of migraine in women to men is 3 to 1, and that ratio remains fairly constant until women enter menopause. Hormones have a strong connection to migraine in 60% of females with migraine disease.
“Women, I like to say we are our hormones, and I don't think any woman's headache can be necessarily treated well if you don't know what's going on hormonally. So, when women hit puberty, and their periods start around the age of 12 or 13, at that point, female-to-male ratio of migraine is 3 to 1. And that ratio of remains fairly constant until menopause. But it's not straight across the board 3 to 1, because if you look at times of hormonal change in women, let's say you take pregnancy, childbirth, perimenopause, then those percentages go even higher. Now that's not true for all females [with migraine]. When you look at women [with migraine], which again, is about ... gosh, it's about 18% of the female population if you look at prevalence studies. When you look at those women, about 60% have a strong hormonal connection … So what that means is, there are about 40% of females [with migraine], where their attacks are not related to their hormones, but 60%, they are, so that's huge.”
There is a well-documented, strong connection between female hormones and women with migraine disease, especially as women go through changes in their lives, such as pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause.
Susan Hutchinson, MD
Author - The Women's Guide to Managing Migraine
Orange County Migraine & Headache Center
Dr. Susan Hutchinson is a headache specialist and board-certified family practice physician. In February 2007, she founded Orange County Migraine & Headache Center, dedicated to serving patients with headache and mood disorders. Although she is not a psychiatrist, she has developed a special interest in treating mood disorders as well as headache. The mood disorders she treats include depression; anxiety; bipolar disorder; ADHD; and panic attacks. Dr. Hutchinson suffers from migraine headaches which gives her an empathy with her patients.
She felt such a calling to help patients with headache and mood disorders that she decided to specialize and devote her career to alleviating the suffering caused by both headaches and mood disorders. She lectures nationally on the subject of headache; has written dozens of articles for medical journals; participated in headache research projects and is very active in numerous professional organizations such as the American Headache Society and the National Headache Foundation.
She is the immediate post-chair of the Women’s Issues section of the American Headache Society after serving in the chair position for 5 years. Dr. Hutchinson is a dynamic and sought-after speaker. She speaks for community groups as well as professional groups. In 2010 she became the President of The Orange County Chapter of the California Academy of Family Physicians.