Doctor and neurologist from Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania, USA, Daniella Wilhur published an article on Tuesday on the portal Talk in which he explains various types of migraine and why they are more frequent and intense in women than in men.
Wilhor begins by explaining that a migraine is much more than a headache, it is a debilitating disorder of the nervous system.
People with migraines experience severe pain, usually on one side of the head. Pain that is usually accompanied by other symptoms of discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light or sound. These symptoms can last for hours or even days.
About 800 million people worldwide suffer from migraine. According to the WHO, Migraine is the eighth most disabling disease of mankind in days of power for the years lived. 40% of patients suffer more than one attack per month, which lasts more than 24 hours in 50% of cases, is moderate in intensity of pain in 20% and severe in 80%. It affects three times more women (18%) than men (6%).
For women aged 18 to 49, migraine is the leading cause of disability in the world.
Women are more likely than men to seek medical attention and medication for migraine, Wilhur said. AND women with migraines tend to have more mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. There are several factors that influence the fact that migraine has different behavior depending on gender, the doctor says, among them hormones, genetics and how certain genes are turned on or off, in addition to Wednesday.
As a child, says Wilhur, both boys and girls are equally likely to develop migraine. “It is estimated that about 10% of all children suffer from migraine at some point. But when girls reach puberty, the chances of getting migraines increase,” she says.
“It’s because of fluctuations in sex hormone levels, mainly estrogen associated with puberty, although other hormones, including progesterone, may also be involved. For some girls, the first migraine occurs during the first menstrual cycle, ”says the neurologist.
However, migraines tend to be more frequent and more intense. during the female reproductive cycle and during childbearing years.
“According to researchers, about Between 50% and 60% of women with migraine experience a menstrual migraine. These migraines usually occur in the days leading up to a period or during the period itself, when a drop in estrogen levels can trigger a migraine,” says Wilhur.
These types of migraines can be more severe and last longer than migraines at other times of the month.
Migraine during pregnancy and menopause
According to Wilhur, for pregnant women migraines can be especially debilitating during the first trimesterwhen morning sickness often occurs, making it difficult to eat, sleep, or drink. However, in the following months, these pains tend to decrease or even disappear.
But, “for those who suffer from them during pregnancy, migraines tend to get worse after childbirth,” says the neurologist.
Wilhor explains that this may be due to a decrease in hormone levels, as well as lack of sleep, stress, dehydration and other environmental factors associated with child care.
In addition, the doctor says that migraine attacks can also get worse during perimenopausetransition phase to menopause.
According to her, it is fluctuations in the level of hormones, in particular estrogen, that cause them. along with chronic pain, depression and sleep problems that can occur during this period.
However, as in the first few months of pregnancy, as menopause progresses, migraines decrease or even disappear.