Why Women Suffer From Migraines More Than Men
Migraines are a neurological condition that are commonly characterized by intense, debilitating headache. Symptoms include nasusea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound. Researchers have not yet identified a definitive cause of migraines. However, new research may shed light on why women are more likely to experience migraines than men. Along with the research we discuss below, there are also other studies, like this Magnesium for Migraines Study: Helps Lessen the Pain by 40% which discusses how magnesium can help with migraines, that can provide you with beneficial information on how to manage your migraines, so it would be worth reading those too if you are struggling to manage your migraines.
Research very recently presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 conference focused on NHE1, a proton exchanger that helps to interpret pain. When levels are low, the pain signals in the brain increase, which can lead to migraines. To figure this out, scientists examined male and female rats that showed that the male rats has a level of NHE1 four times higher than females.
High estrogen levels were also found to be connected to low NHE1 levels, which the study reports, might explain why many women experience migraines when their menstrual cycle begins, which is when estrogen levels begin to rise. Unfortunately, low levels of the protein also seem to make migraine medications less effective.
Emily Galloway, an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Arizona and presenter of the study reports, “Based on our findings, we think women are more susceptible to migraines because the larger magnitude sex hormone fluctuations lead to changes in NHE1 expression, which may leave the brain vulnerable to ion dysregulation and pain activation.”
Is a Vitamin Deficiency One Cause of Migraines?
Preliminary research presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in 2016 revealed that a significant portion of kids, teens and young adults who suffer from migraines were mildly deficient in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10.
Researchers examined baseline blood samples from a database of 7,420 patients at the hospital’s headache center and analyzed them for levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate – all nutrients that have been linked to migraine risk in past research. While folate results were suggestive, “about 51% of patients were just at or below average levels of coenzyme Q10, 16% had less than average levels of riboflavin, and 31% had less than average levels of Vitamin D.” Also noted, female patients were more likely to have deficiencies in coenzyme Q10. Male patients were more likely to have deficiencies in vitamin D. Those with chronic migraines were more likely to be deficient in both coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin.