Migraine and Puberty: The Impact of Hormones

Before the age of 7, migraine affects boys and girls equally. By the time puberty hits, however, attacks are much more frequent in girls.
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Migraine is a condition that does not discriminate. People of any age, gender, and race can suffer from it. And this includes young children. In fact, studies suggest that round 60% of school children aged between 7 and 15 experience headaches. However, who exactly faces migraine does tend to shift as children get older and hit puberty.

Although figures can vary slightly, migraine tends to affect boys and girls equally before they hit puberty. After puberty, however, migraine becomes significantly more common in girls. But why is this the case?

The effects of the menstrual cycle…

The main reason for this shift in who suffers from migraine attacks after puberty is because of the effects of the menstrual cycle on the condition.

When girls hit puberty, they begin menstruating. Menstruation takes place due to a number of different hormones (namely oestrogen and progesterone) working together in order to stimulate the release of an egg. However, it is these fluctuations in hormones that may well be responsible for the jump in migraine attacks experience by post-pubescent girls.

Migraine, puberty, and oestrogen levels

In particular, oestrogen has been singled out as a trigger of migraine attacks. Menstrual migraine is a specific type of migraine which many believe is caused by falling levels of oestrogen. The reduction of this hormone responsible for starting the menstrual cycle, but many are now linking it to the headaches women and girls sometimes suffer around this time.

Of course, puberty is a natural and inevitable part of life. But facing migraine attacks at this age can be particularly disruptive, especially when it comes to school. If your child finds themselves suffering from headaches as they hit puberty, consult a doctor. They will be sure to reassure you and your child, ensuring you get the guidance you need to keep your children happy and healthy.


Cleveland Clinic

Neurology Adviser

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Migraine in children & teens

What is migraine?

Migraine is not just a headache. Migraine is a severe neurological disease. This sounds complex, and it is, as the impact, symptoms and comorbidities (such as anxiety) can vary greatly from person to person.

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