Headaches and Hormones: Do They Have a Connection?

   |  Updated: June 02, 2016 16:18 IST

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Headaches and Hormones: Do They Have a Connection?
Highlights
  • women with a history of migraine had a faster decline rate of estrogen
  • The estrogen levels in women with migraine dropped by 40%
  • The investigators measured hormone levels from daily urine samples
For women with a history of migraine, estrogen levels are likely to drop more rapidly in the days just before menstruation than they do for women who do not have migraine history, finds a new study.

The findings showed that the women with a history of migraine had a faster rate of estrogen decline regardless of whether they had a migraine during that cycle or not. It was seen that two days after ovulation and before menstruation, the estrogen levels in women with migraine dropped by 40 percent compared to 30 percent for women without migraine. 

The rate dropped 34 picrograms per milligram of creatinine (pg/mgCr) in women with migraine, compared to 23 pg/mgCr in women without migraine, suggesting that there's a process that links estrogen withdrawal and menstrual migraine, the researchers explained. "These results suggest that a 'two-hit' process may link estrogen withdrawal to menstrual migraine," said lead author Jelena Pavlovic from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US.

For other hormone patterns, there were no differences between women with migraine and women who did not have migraine. “More rapid estrogen decline may make women vulnerable to common triggers for migraine attacks such as stress, lack of sleep, foods and wine,” Pavlovic added.For the study, published online in the journal Neurology, the team reviewed migraine history, daily headache diaries and hormone data for 114 women of an average 47 years, with a history of migraine and 223 women without a history of migraine. The investigators measured hormone levels from daily urine samples for one monthly cycle; the participants' peak hormone levels, average daily levels and day-to-day rates of decline were calculated over the five days following each hormone peak in their cycles.

"Future studies should focus on the relationship between headaches and daily hormone changes and explore the possible underpinnings of these results," Pavlovic noted.

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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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