Menstrual migraine pattern may start in adolescence

The Gazette
Montreal

October 20, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The association between menstruation and migraine headaches may start to become evident during adolescence, according to findings published in the March issue of Headache.

Menstrual migraine is well-recognized in adult populations but not in adolescent populations, Dr. Andrew D. Hershey, of Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, and colleagues point out.

“Whether the onset of menstrual migraine is associated with the onset of menstruation or develops with time is unknown,” they note. There is little information on when menstrually related migraine first occurs.

The researchers conducted a review analysis of headache characteristics in 896 consecutive girls between the ages of 9 and 18 years. Of the 896 girls, 331 — 50.3 percent of those who had just started to menstruate and 36.9 percent of all girls — reported experiencing headaches with the menstrual period.

Overall, 77 subjects (63.6 percent) who reported a menstrual pattern noted that migraines started between day -2 and day +3 of their menstrual period start. Associated symptoms were increased among girls with menstrual migraine compared to those without menstrual migraine. No difference in disability was observed between girls with a menstrual pattern and those without a menstrual pattern.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.