Why women get more migraines than men, according to new study

It’s a fact that more women than men get migraines, but the exact cause is unknown. With such a gender divide when it comes to this debilitating health condition – according to the Migraine Research Foundation, women are three times more likely to get migraines than men – it’s not surprising that researchers across the world are searching for a reason why.

Last year, a group of scientists in Spain discovered that high levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen appeared to play an important role in women’s migraines due to their impact on the trigeminal nerve in the head and connected blood vessels. Now, new research into the activity of a particular protein could also be a factor.

CGRP and its role in chronic migraine

It’s been known for a while that calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays a major role in migraine, but research is now focused on where the protein is active in the body in relation to migraines. Researchers at the University of Texas in the US have studied rats and mice and have been able to pinpoint where pain-related CGRP activity takes place in the body and also discovered that this particular activity only occurred in females.

By introducing CGRP into the meninges – the protective layer of three tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord – they triggered a pain response, but only in female rodents. Male rodents were not affected. Their results were recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience and researchers claim it could indicate why women are more susceptible to migraines than men.

CGRP inhibitors are the newest preventive medicines for migraines and they have been specifically developed and licensed to treat migraine, unlike other preventative medicines which were initially developed for other conditions. Until now, CGRP inhibitors have only been available privately and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently rejected one compound, Aimovig, for routine NHS use in England. However, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recently accepted Aimovig for restricted use in NHS Scotland.

Currently, chronic migraine sufferers in the UK have the option of Botox for migraine relief from the NHS under restricted use. For those patients that suffer from headaches on at least 15 days of a month – eight days of which are migraine-type headaches – and they have explored three types of preventative medication with no alleviation of symptoms, then they are deemed to suffer from chronic. Due to its restricted use, patients are increasingly seeking a private practice offering Botox migraine therapy.

Botox courses for migraine relief

If you are interested in learning more about Botox courses for the treatment of migraines, Youth Doctors offers the only migraine course in the UK and Europe. Call 0790 0583 898 to find out more information about our courses.