Migraine is a headache of varying intensity, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
Hormones have often not been prescribed for migraine sufferers because of the association between exogenous oestrogen use and an increased risk of stroke in women who have migraines.
This led to the recommendation that combined oral contraceptives (better known as birth control pills) should be used cautiously or avoided entirely in women with a history of migraines, depending on whether or not the migraines were accompanied by an aura.
However, the study “brought further clarity to its safe use, especially in younger women (below 60) who are closer to the time of menopause (within 10 years of menopause),” said Peter F. Schnatz, from Thomas Jefferson University in the US.
“Since migraines affect one in every four women and they are often advised to avoid hormone therapy, the new findings may have significant public health implications,” added Jelena Pavlovic, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the New York, while presenting the findings during the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
For the study, the team analysed data for 67,903 participants to examine the relationship between migraines and cardiovascular disease events and their interaction with hormone therapy use.
It was discovered that women with migraines tend to drink and exercise less than those without migraines.
Importantly, researchers did not detect a significant risk of cardiovascular disease events associated with a history of migraines. Most significantly, from the treatment safety perspective, there was no impact from hormone therapy on this relationship.