Evaluation of an electronic diary as a diagnostic tool to study headache and premenstrual symptoms in migraineurs

Jay Goldberg, Abigail Wolf, Stephen Silberstein, Cheryl Gebeline-Myers, Mary Hopkins, Kim Einhorn, Jorge E Tolosa
Headache 2007, 47 (3): 384-96

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate an electronic diary as a tool to evaluate the occurrence and relationship of headaches and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms throughout the menstrual cycle in women with migraine.

BACKGROUND: Menstrually related headache and PMS significantly impact the quality of life of many women. The time relationship of these 2 menstrually related problems is not well understood and not well described.

METHODS: Twenty women with migraine experiencing regular menstrual cycles were enrolled in a prospective study designed to date- and time-stamp data, both self- and computer-prompted, headache and PMS symptoms, for 3 consecutive months. A previously validated PMS score was calculated by grading 23 PMS criteria on a scale of 0 to 3 (0 = no symptoms, 3 = severe symptoms).

RESULTS: The total number of data entries recorded was 2009, composed of 56 menstrual cycles in 20 migraineurs. Five hundred forty-four entries reported a current, prodromal, or previous headache. The mean daily occurrence of headache increased beginning on cycle day -5, peaked on days +1 to +5, and returned to baseline by day +7. Mean daily PMS scores ranged from 2.4 to 12. Mean daily PMS scores peaked on days -6 to +2 and returned to baseline by day +8.

CONCLUSIONS: An electronic diary may have potential as a diagnostic tool in studying headaches and PMS symptoms throughout the menstrual cycle. The occurrence of headache and PMS symptoms in migraineurs follows similar time courses.

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