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Migraine in Men: Unique Symptoms and Challenges

June 18, 2021

While migraine is much more common in women, as many as 9% of men live with migraine as well. Here are four things you should know about men and migraine.

Migraine in men is associated with a higher risk of heart attacks.

A broad, long-term study found that men with migraine had a 24% higher risk for major cardiovascular disease and a 42% higher risk for heart attack, compared with men who did not have migraine.[i] (Migraine with aura is also associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in women.)[ii]

Awareness is key. If you have migraine, keep an eye on your heart health and get regular checkups.

Men may have different triggers for migraine.

Migraine triggers (the events or circumstances that can cause an attack) are highly individualized. Many women find that hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle can trigger migraine. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to find that exercise or certain foods may trigger attacks.[iii] 

Triggers are complicated. Often, it’s not just one thing that sparks an attack, but a combination — for example, a stressful day at work combined with a night of bad sleep. If you’re not sure what your triggers are, consider keeping a headache journal in which you’ve recorded your attacks, symptoms and circumstances. Over time, you’ll see patterns emerge that can help you understand migraine better. The free CeCe app from CEFALY makes it simple.

Men may experience migraine symptoms differently.

Men with migraine generally have less severe attacks and fewer headache days per month, compared to women, according to the extensive Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) study.[iv]

However, migraine remains a profoundly disabling condition for women and men alike. Migraine can lead to missing days of work, being unable to fulfill family obligations, and limiting what someone is able to do.

Compared to women, men may be less likely to seek medical help for migraine.

“Men more often cope with their headaches without any medical support, simply ‘dealing with pain when they have to’,” according to a fact sheet that summarizes recent research on migraine in men.[v] Also, men with migraine are significantly less likely than women to use prescription medications and more likely to use over-the-counter medications for headache.[vi]

If you’ve been reluctant to consult a doctor, make an appointment with a neurologist or headache specialist today. Your health care provider can diagnose you, if you don’t already have an official migraine or headache disorder diagnosis, and help you develop an individualized treatment plan.

If you’ve had a hard time finding a treatment that works for you, don’t give up! The migraine community continues to see exciting new advances in treatment. We’re proud to announce the launch of the CEFALY DUAL Enhanced: an FDA cleared medical device for migraine prevention and relief that offers an enhanced user experience, design and storage.

 

 

 

[i] https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/migraines-tied-greater-heart-attack-risk-men

[ii] Bigal ME, Kurth T, Hu H, Santanello N, Lipton RB. Migraine and cardiovascular disease: possible mechanisms of interaction. Neurology. 2009;72(21):1864-1871. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a71220

[iii] https://headaches.org/2018/06/11/how-does-migraine-impact-men/

[iv] Scher AI, Wang SJ, Katsarava Z, et al. Epidemiology of migraine in men: Results from the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) Study. Cephalalgia. 2019;39(2):296-305. doi:10.1177/0333102418786266

[v] Rossi P, Nappi G. Migraine in men: fact sheet. A publication to mark European Migraine Day of Action 2014. Funct Neurol. 2014;29(3):149-151.

[vi] Buse DC, Loder EW, Gorman JA, et al. Sex differences in the prevalence, symptoms and associated features of migraine, probable migraine and other severe headaches: results of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study. Headache. 2013;53:1278–1299.

 

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