Gender Differences in the Epidemiology of Migraine

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Men were not only less likely to consult a doctor for their migraines than women, they were also less likely to be diagnosed with migraine.
Men were not only less likely to consult a doctor for their migraines than women, they were also less likely to be diagnosed with migraine.

Gender differences between women and men with migraine indicate that men may have less severe migraine attacks and less disability than women, and may also be less likely to be diagnosed with migraine than women, according to a study published in Cephalalgia.

To assess gender differences in prognosis, comorbidity, and disease presentation for migraine, the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes Study (CaMEO) collected data for 15 months (September 2012 to November 2013) from the 489,537 members of the web-based panel Research Now, located in Plano, Texas. Of the 80,783 respondents to the study survey, 16,789 both provided usable surveys and met the criteria for inclusion. Of these, 25.6% (n= 4294) were men.

Men were typically older than women at onset of migraine (24.1 mean years vs 22.3), had slightly less severe migraine attacks (21.6 vs 22.6 Migraine Symptom Severity Scores), and had fewer headache days per month (4.3 vs 5.3). Men also had a reduced prevalence of grade IV scores on Migraine Disability Assessments (15.7% vs 24.1%), chronic migraine (6.5% vs 9.6%), and allodynia (32.6% vs 49.7%).

Men were not only less likely to consult a doctor for their migraines than women, they were also less likely to be diagnosed with migraine.

Study investigators conclude that, “the present findings confirm that migraine can be disabling in men, is less likely to be managed clinically, and further suggest that our understanding of prognostic factors for CM in men may be less well understood.”

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Reference

Scher AI, Wang SJ, Katsarava Z, et al. Epidemiology of migraine in men: Results from the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) Study. Cephalalgia. 2018 Jan 1:333102418786266. doi: 10.1177/0333102418786266

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