Women are more prone to migraine attacks than men due in part to their brain anatomy. Peer-reviewed journal Science reports a recent study of 44 men and women – half of whom were migraine sufferers – revealed female migraine sufferers had slightly thicker grey matter (dark tissue of the brain and spinal cord) than other participants. Among female migraine sufferers, grey matter was thicker in the posterior insula (pain-processing) and precuneus (consciousness) portions of the brain.
The aforementioned results showed brain pattern differences that may explain why women tend to be more susceptible to migraines than men, study researcher Peter Goadsby told Science. The study also indicated women may experience greater activation of emotional pain processing in the brain in comparison to men. This may make women more prone to depression and anxiety that lead to migraines.
Brain anatomy may be one of several reasons why women tend to experience migraines more frequently than men. Neurologist Jan Lewis Brands told NPR that hormonal fluctuations during menstruation may cause migraines in women. Some researchers also believe estrogen may contribute to migraine attacks in women.
How Can Women and Men Address Migraine Pain?
Approximately one in four U.S. households includes a person who experiences migraine pain, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Additionally, 18% of women experience migraines, compared to 10% of men.
For those who experience migraine pain, it is important to find the right treatment. If a person understands the signs of migraine attacks, he or she may be better equipped than ever before to alleviate migraine symptoms before they escalate. Common migraine symptoms that affect both women and men include:
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia) and/or sound (phonophobia)
- Abdominal pain
The first step to treat migraine pain involves consulting with a primary care doctor or neurologist. At this point, a medical professional evaluates a patient and provides him or her with a migraine diagnosis. This medical professional may also recommend migraine medications to help a patient address his or her migraine symptoms.
Migraine medications usually involve trial and error. There is no one-size-fits-all migraine treatment, and a patient may need to try a series of medications to alleviate his or her migraine pain. In some instances, however, a chronic migraine sufferer may experience unwanted side effects due to his or her medications. Or, this individual may find his or her migraine medications fail to stop migraine pain.
For those who have received a chronic migraine diagnosis from a neurologist but find their migraine medications are ineffective, there are other options. Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute possesses head and neck surgery and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery expertise, and his unique background allows him to help patients determine the best treatment to address migraine symptoms.
Dr. Cabin understands no two patients are exactly alike, and as such, tailors a migraine treatment to a patient. He performs an in-depth patient assessment, learns about a patient’s anatomical migraine triggers and conducts various patient tests. Then, Dr. Cabin offers a personalized migraine treatment recommendation. He responds to a patient’s concerns and questions to help this individual make an informed treatment decision. To learn more about Dr. Cabin’s approach to migraines, please contact us today at 310.461.0303 to schedule a consultation.