migraines and depression linked

Women who experience migraines are more likely to develop depression.

If you are one of the millions of women who suffer from migraine headaches, take note. You also have a higher risk of another debilitating condition.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers have found that women who experience migraines or have had them in the past are about 40 percent more likely to develop depression than women without a history of migraines.

BWH researchers analyzed data from more than 36,000 participants in the Women’s Health Study who did not have depression and who had provided information about their migraine history. Women were categorized as having active migraine with aura (mostly visual disturbances), active migraine without aura, past history of migraine, or no history of migraine. Information about depression diagnoses also was included.  Of those participants, 6,456 women reported suffering from current or past migraine. Over a 14 year follow-up period, 3,971 of the women developed depression.

“We hope that our study will bring about discussions regarding depression risks and treatment among women with migraines and their doctors,” said Dr. Tobias Kurth, a neuroepidemiologist at BWH and senior author of the study.

Migraines in women
are more common than in men and can be affected by hormonal changes, such as those found during menstrual cycles and menopause.  “It is important to recognize that both migraines and depression are highly manageable with appropriate treatment,” said Dr. Elizabeth Loder, Chief of the Division of Headache and Pain at BWH and Faulkner Hospital.

– Jessica F


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