Published on: August 29, 2018
by Society for Women’s Health Research:
To decrease the substantial health and economic burden of migraine on individuals and society, researchers need to examine and address how the disease differs between women and men, according to a report from the Society for Women’s Health Research published in the August issue of the Journal of Women’s Health.
Women shoulder a significant amount of the migraine burden. Migraine is three times more common in women than men, reaching peak prevalence between ages 30-39, at a time when many women are balancing work, family, and social obligations. Women are more likely to experience longer and more intense migraine attacks and report more migraine-associated symptoms and comorbid conditions. Migraine costs the U.S. an estimated $78 billion per year, with women accounting for about 80 percent of direct medical and lost labor costs.
SWHR’s report summarizes current research on sex and gender differences in migraine with expert researchers, clinicians, and patients. The review outlines growing evidence that sex influences migraine risk, presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and management.
For example, sex hormones like estrogen play a large role in the development of migraine and are likely contributors to observed sex differences in the disease, but a better understanding of these differences and the mechanisms behind them will lead to more targeted, effective treatments.
In addition, women and men seek and receive treatment for migraine differently, with women more likely to consult a health care provider. This could be because women typically experience worse symptoms or because the feminization of the migraine makes men hesitant to seek help. Recognizing these gender differences can help overcome patient and provider bias in the diagnosis and treatment of migraine.
Despite the clear differences in migraine between women and men, research exploring these differences has been limited. “To move migraine research forward more quickly and to greatly improve the lives of patients, sex and gender differences in migraine need to be taken into account across the entire health care spectrum — by researchers, clinicians, patients, policymakers, and other health care decision-makers,” said Rebecca Nebel, PhD, SWHR’s director of scientific programs and senior author on the paper.
Innovation in migraine has been slow. Until earlier this year, no treatments designed specifically to prevent migraine had come onto the market in more than 50 years. To promote advancement in migraine research and patient care, SWHR’s report identifies gaps in knowledge and prioritizes areas that warrant further attention in order to improve health outcomes for both women and men. Priority areas include:
Thanks to the ongoing support of our partner Brain Canada, and The Citrine Foundation of Canada, Women’s Brain Health Initiative’s newest edition of MIND OVER MATTER has just been published. Loaded with interesting science-based articles, MIND OVER...
On December 2nd, in celebration of Women’s Brain Health Day, join thousands of others and take part in the Stand Ahead® Memory Challenge to stand up against research bias and stand ahead for women’s brain...
YOU’RE INVITED! On December 2nd, the second annual Women’s Brain Health Day, take the memory challenge and help us combat brain-aging diseases that disproportionately affect women. Join CTV’s Pattie Lovett-Reid and Anne-Marie Mediwake, along...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.