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Dealing with Headache: Sex Differences in the Burden of Migraine- and Tension-Type Headache


Neumeier, Maria Susanne; Pohl, Heiko; Sandor, Peter S; Gut, Hans; Merki-Feld, Gabriele S; Andrée, Colette (2021). Dealing with Headache: Sex Differences in the Burden of Migraine- and Tension-Type Headache. Brain Sciences, 11(10):1323.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate sex differences in the burden of migraine and tension-type headache (TTH).

BACKGROUND

Migraine and TTH are more common in women than in men, with differences in comorbidities, treatment responses, disease-modifying factors, and ictal and interictal burden of disease. Information about sex-related influences on ictal and interictal burden is limited, and an increased understanding is mandatory to provide tailored individual treatment for female and male patients.

METHODS

Participants answered an online survey based on the EUROLIGHT questionnaire. Inclusion criteria were the consent to participate, complete responses to the diagnostic questions, and information about their sex. Sex differences were investigated using the Mann-Whitney U test or Chi-square test. For detecting factors that influence the burden of disease, we built binary regression models.

RESULTS

We included 472 (74.6% female) migraineurs and 161 (59.6% female) participants with TTH. Women with migraine reported significantly more problems in their love lives, more self-concealment, less feelings of being understood by family and friends, more interictal anxiety, a higher pain severity, and more depression and anxiety symptoms than men. For TTH, we did not find significant sex-related differences. A higher headache frequency was the factor that increased the burden of disease in female but not in male migraneurs.

CONCLUSION

The burden of disease was higher in women than men with migraine in many aspects, but not with TTH. Therefore, according to our results, there is a need for sex-specific precision medicine for migraine but not TTH. Controlling the headache frequency with a proper acute or prophylactic treatment and treating comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms is crucial to ease migraine's burden, especially in women.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate sex differences in the burden of migraine and tension-type headache (TTH).

BACKGROUND

Migraine and TTH are more common in women than in men, with differences in comorbidities, treatment responses, disease-modifying factors, and ictal and interictal burden of disease. Information about sex-related influences on ictal and interictal burden is limited, and an increased understanding is mandatory to provide tailored individual treatment for female and male patients.

METHODS

Participants answered an online survey based on the EUROLIGHT questionnaire. Inclusion criteria were the consent to participate, complete responses to the diagnostic questions, and information about their sex. Sex differences were investigated using the Mann-Whitney U test or Chi-square test. For detecting factors that influence the burden of disease, we built binary regression models.

RESULTS

We included 472 (74.6% female) migraineurs and 161 (59.6% female) participants with TTH. Women with migraine reported significantly more problems in their love lives, more self-concealment, less feelings of being understood by family and friends, more interictal anxiety, a higher pain severity, and more depression and anxiety symptoms than men. For TTH, we did not find significant sex-related differences. A higher headache frequency was the factor that increased the burden of disease in female but not in male migraneurs.

CONCLUSION

The burden of disease was higher in women than men with migraine in many aspects, but not with TTH. Therefore, according to our results, there is a need for sex-specific precision medicine for migraine but not TTH. Controlling the headache frequency with a proper acute or prophylactic treatment and treating comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms is crucial to ease migraine's burden, especially in women.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:5 October 2021
Deposited On:01 Dec 2021 12:05
Last Modified:27 Jan 2024 02:43
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2076-3425
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101323
PubMed ID:34679388
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)