Why are women more susceptible to migraines?
12/01/2018 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

Migraines are severe headaches that often come with nausea, blurred vision, and sensitivity to smells, lights, or other stimuli. Each episode can range from hours to days and can significantly interfere with a person's everyday life. When it comes to this condition, women get the short end of the stick since they are more susceptible to migraines than men. For years, people have asked why this is so, but they never got an answer until recently. A study conducted by researchers from The Miguel Hernández University of Elche in Spain found that the reason for the higher migraine incidence in women is possibly due to the different sex hormones.

In this study, published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, the researchers reviewed existing research regarding migraine sensitivity, nerve reactions to migraine triggers, and sex hormones to establish a connection between them. Initially, it was believed that sex hormones induced migraines by regulating the immune system, which could lead to inflammation and a consequent increase in the sensitivity of pain receptors. However, this study revealed that hormones are directly involved in pain receptor signaling.

Sex hormones were observed to modulate neurons in the cranial nerve that are part of the trigeminovascular system, which is involved in migraine pathology. Testosterone, which is produced by males, had a protective effect on the nerves making them less susceptible to migraines. On the other hand, prolactin and estrogen were shown to increase sensitivity to pain, so women suffer from higher migraine incidence because they produce more of these.


"Although this is a complex process, we believe that modulation of the trigeminovascular system by sex hormones plays an important role that has not been properly addressed," said Professor Antonio Ferrer-Montiel from The Miguel Hernández University of Elche who is also the lead author of the study.

With a better understanding of migraine pathology, it is now possible to find more appropriate treatments that can address factors that weren't considered before. This is important to prevent complications due to this condition. (Related: Migraines may permanently damage your brain structure: Here is a natural, research-proven way to treat them.)

Natural remedies for migraines

Conventional medications for migraines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, are widely used. However, these drugs have side effects like weight gain, dizziness, nausea, low blood pressure, and drowsiness. To alleviate migraines without having to worry about side effects, you can give the following home remedies a try.

  • Acupressure -- Applying pressure on specific parts of the body can relieve muscle tension and alleviate pain. To remedy migraines, press on the area between the base of the left thumb and index finger in a circular manner for about five minutes.
  • Yoga or stretching -- These exercises improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension to provide migraine relief. A previous study even showed that yoga works even better than conventional treatments.
  • Hydration -- By simply drinking water, you can significantly improve migraines since dehydration is a common trigger for migraines. For people who are severely dehydrated, they might need to use rehydration solutions that can supply them with missing electrolytes.
  • Compresses -- Both cold and warm compresses are effective and soothing and reducing migraine pain.
  • Healthier diet -- If you suffer from migraines, you might benefits from removing common food triggers for this condition which include processed foods, alcohol, chocolate, and caffeinated beverages.

For more articles about women's health, visit WomensHealth.news.

Sources include:

MedicalNewsToday.com 1

MedicalNewsToday.com 2


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