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Menopause Can Give You a Headache

Here’s some news that will vindicate every woman who blames menopause for migraine headaches. A new investigation suggests that the headaches can begin or worsen in the years just before menopause and, according to the researchers, can now be considered a symptom of menopause, right up there with hot flashes. The monthly decline of estrogen before menstruation has long been blamed for menstrual migraines. Now, the low estrogen typical of menopause, as well as other hormonal fluctuations as menopause approaches, may be the trigger for migraines that occur at this time of life in some women. The migraine and menopause investigation was part of the larger American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study, a survey of 120,000 U.S. households. The researchers gathered data on 3,603 women ages 35 to 65 who have migraines, and classified them based on headache frequency and on whether the women were premenopausal, peri-menopausal or postmenopausal. The question now, the researchers said, is how to best treat these menopause migraines. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Mary Mcvean, “Women: You are having more headaches around menopause, researchers say.” Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2014,, accessed July 5, 2014

Surprising Migraine Trigger

New research demonstrates that lightning might be a possible trigger for migraines and severe headaches. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found a 31 percent increased risk of headache and a 28 percent increased risk of migraine among individuals who suffer from chronic headaches on days lighting struck within 25 miles of their homes. This study was the first to show a potential link between lightning and headaches. Previous studies have reported conflicting links between headaches and other weather-related changes such as humidity and barometric pressure. The researchers recruited participants for the study from sites in Ohio and Missouri and asked them to record their headache activity in a daily journal for three to six months. Meanwhile, the researchers noted the location of lightning strikes within 25 miles of participants’ homes and recorded the magnitude and polarity of lightning current. Researcher Vincent Martin, M.D. suggested that the headaches could be triggered by electromagnetic waves emitted from lighting or the increases in ozone and other air pollution caused by the electrical discharge, as well as the release of fungal spores associated with lightning.

Geoffrey V. Martin and Vincent T. Martin, et al, “Lightning and its association with the frequency of headache in migraineurs: An observational cohort study”. Cephalalgia, January 24, 2013 DOI: 10.1177/0333102412474502