Study Explains Why more Women than Men get Longer-lasting Migraines

Personalized therapies for hard-to-treat diseases are opening up new frontiers in the healthcare sector, globally. Understanding of the migraine causation has posed considerable challenges for decades, given the complex pathophysiology of this popular brain disorder in global populations. A recent study by a team of researchers at Universitas Miguel Hernández, Spain exploring links between sex hormones and migraines have claimed to uncover a promising mechanism that expands the understanding this causation better. Distilling through scores of literature on sex hormones, the investigators analyzed the role of these hormones in perpetuating or modulating various types of migraine. What seems an intriguing finding was that estrogen levels in women affected the trigeminovascular system adversely and activated migraine triggers in them. Indeed, menstruating women were more prone to be affected by these triggers, which also explained why so many women get migraines.

The findings of the study can be assessed through the publication Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.

Literature shed Light on Role Sex Hormones Occupy in Migraines

For years, scientists have focused on shedding light on the exact role specific sex hormones play in the pathophysiology of migraine. They were notably interested in knowing the cause behind the increased prevalence in women than in men. They also wanted to account for intense, longer-lasting migraine attacks in women. In the current study, the researchers opined that sex hormones affect the cells surrounding the trigeminal nerve and modulate the transient receptor potential channels (TRP). In fact, in several of the studies the protective role of testosterone and progestogen sex hormone in disease mitigation was obvious. However, the association between estrogens and migraine attacks is controversial.

Findings to Lead to Novel Avenues for Disease Treatment

The study, though of preliminary nature, suggests that estrogen levels were responsible for sexual dimorphism, particularly the sex-related differences in migraine pain. More longitudinal studies are needed to establish the link between menstrual hormones and migraines, concluded the researchers. They are looking forward for conducting research using pre-clinical, human-based models. The current findings, nonetheless, is paving way for finding novel pathways for drug interventions helpful for better managing the migraine episodes in women.

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