Higher Estrogen Levels Might Play a Role in Men with Migraine

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Higher Estrogen Levels Might Play a Role in Men with Migraine

The study published in the online issue of "Neurology," concluded that the female sex hormone might also play a role in men suffering from migraine. It was found that the testosterone levels elevated 24 hours before a migraine in men who experienced pre-migraine symptoms such as fatigue, muscle stiffness, and food cravings. 

Estrogen hormone plays a role in migraine for women. Migraine is a debilitating neurologic condition because of persistent attacks of severe headaches. Women during childbearing years are three times more likely to have migraine than men. The author of this study, W.P.J. van Oosterhout, MD, of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, stated that "Previous research has found that levels of Estrogen can influence when women have migraines and how severe they are, but little is known about whether sex hormones also affect migraine in men.

A total of 17 men with an average age of 47 years had a migraine almost three times a month. None of them was on hormone medication. They were compared to 22 men without migraine. All the participants of the study were of healthy weight, matched for age and body mass index.

The researchers noted the levels of both estradiol, an estrogen, and testosterone in the blood. They gathered four blood samples from each participant daily at an interval of three hours. For the migraine patients, the first blood samples were taken on a non-migraine day and then every day after that until the participant had a migraine. 

It was revealed that testosterone levels were alike for both groups whereas, the men with migraine had higher levels of estrogen between migraines- 97 picomoles per liter (pmol/L), as compared to 69 pmol/L in men without migraine. As a result, a lower ratio of testosterone to estrogen between migraines, 3.9, compared with men without migraine, 5.0 was found. In men with migraine who experienced pre-migraine symptoms such as fatigue, muscle stiffness, and food cravings, the testosterone levels did increase 24 hours before a migraine attack.

In addition, the participants were surveyed about symptoms that they may have a relative deficiency in testosterone, like mood, energy, and sexual disorders. The researchers found that men with migraine more commonly reported these symptoms which were more often severe. These symptoms were reported in 61% men with migraine and 27% men without migraine.

Further studies are required in larger populations to affirm these findings. The specific role of estrogen in men with migraine, and whether alterations in estrogen may be concerned with migraine activity, as they are in women, need to be adequately assessed. 





The original title of the article:

Men with migraine may have higher estrogen levels


W.P.J. van Oosterhout

Exploratory, Migraine, Head, Estrogen, Hormones
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