Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. A new study clarifies the role of sex hormones, and especially estrogen in this prevalence.
15% of the world's population has migraines. And in France as elsewhere, women and men are not equal to this neurological disease. Thus, women are three times more affected by headaches. The migraine, called "headache" by doctors, is manifested in crises, sometimes very painful, with, in filigree, professional and personal difficulties. For some time now, the scientific community has been questioning the role of hormones in explaining why women suffer more. And why they are also more resistant to treatment.
Estrogen hurts your head
A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences push the nail. According to the researchers, the sex hormones, estrogen in mind, affect the cells around the trigeminal nerve and the connected blood nerves in the head. The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve that connects all the functions of the face (eyes, forehead, mouth, etc.). Migraine is directly associated with the latter. Women, during their period, have more headaches than usual. According to the researchers, this is because their estrogen levels increase. More generally, changes in estrogen levels facilitate the onset of a migraine.
Every hormone has its role
Beyond this first conclusion, the authors of the study found that the different sex hormones did not have the same effects. Thus testosterone, male hormone par excellence, would protect migraines. While prolactin would aggravate the disease. Research needs to be further developed to determine the role of each hormone. These conclusions are just the beginning. But for researchers, this is in line with future treatments adapted to each patient. Including for migraines that occur during menses in women, but also before menopause.