What is perimenopause and how does it affect migraine?


Dr. Susan Hutchinson defines perimenopause and how it affects women with migraine disorder.


“Perimenopause — sometimes we call it the change before the change. And it can start in the late 30s, but the typical age would be mid to late 40s. And this is where a woman — hormones are changing, but she's still having periods. But those periods could get closer together, they could be further apart, but the hallmark is unpredictability, and it can be a time of great frustration. And because the hormones are fluctuating even more than usual, you definitely have an increase in migraine during that time. And that's been shown in numerous prevalent studies. So these are the women that come into my practice that are often very frustrated, because what they were doing is not working as well as it used to. And they feel like they're exercising, they're doing everything right. And so I try to let them know, you know, let's work together, it's not your fault, this is called perimenopause.”


Perimenopause is a time of great hormonal fluctuation and frustration for women, and that can mean an increase in migraine attacks.

This is a short segment of a full video interview. View the full version by upgrading to an Access Pass bundle! Get FREE access to 8 expert interviews from Day 1 and Day 2 when you register today!


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.