Here’s What Estrogen Has To Do With Migraines

By Emily Lunardo
Emily Lunardo
Emily Lunardo
August 28, 2016 Updated: August 28, 2016

There is a known link between migraines and estrogen, but it has never been fully understood. Researchers now are steps closer to better understanding this complex connection between migraines and levels of estrogen.

The new study found that women who suffer severe headaches and migraines experience more dramatic drops in estrogen days prior to menstruation, compared to women who don’t experience headaches.

Study author Dr. Jelena Pavlovic said, “These results suggest that a ‘two-hit’ process may link estrogen withdrawal to menstrual migraine. More rapid estrogen decline may make women vulnerable to common triggers for migraine attacks such as stress, lack of sleep, foods, and wine.”

The researchers looked at urine samples from 114 women with migraines and 233 without migraines. Researchers found that estrogen levels dropped 40 percent in women with migraines prior to menstruation, compared to a 30 percent drop in women without migraines.

Pavlovic added, “Future studies should focus on the relationship between headaches and daily hormone changes and explore the possible underpinnings of these results.”

Migraines are more common amongst women than men, and roughly 12 percent of Americans suffer from the condition.


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Emily Lunardo
Emily Lunardo