Migraine in a specialist menopause clinic

E A MacGregor, D Barnes
Climacteric: the Journal of the International Menopause Society 1999, 2 (3): 218-23

OBJECTIVES: Epidemiological studies suggest that migraine and headache worsen during the climacteric. The authors noted that women attending a specialist hospital-based menopause clinic frequently reported vasomotor and other common climacteric symptoms but few spontaneously reported headache or migraine. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of migraine and headache in women attending this clinic.

METHODS: Seventy-four women consecutively attending the menopause clinic at St. Bartholomew's Hospital were questioned about headache. Those with a positive response were further interviewed to obtain a headache diagnosis.

RESULTS: Headache was found to be a common symptom affecting 57% of women in the 3 months before attending a specialist menopause clinic. Migraine affected 29% of patients in the preceding 3 months. This condition was associated with significant disability: 80% of women reported that attacks were more frequent than once a month; 75% reported that the attacks were severe; 50% reported that the duration of treated attacks was longer than 1 day.

DISCUSSION: The high prevalence of headache and migraine in this group suggests that perimenopausal women should routinely be asked about headache and offered appropriate advice. This should include optimal attack therapy and strategies for preventing attacks, which may include hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Further studies are warranted to evaluate the relationship between climacteric symptoms, headaches, migraine and HRT.


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