Researchers found that estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, may also play a role in men's migraines as it does in women.
They found that men with higher levels of the hormone are more likely to experience migraines as compared with those with lower levels.
Migraine And Estrogen
Migraine is a prevalent neurological condition which causes a pounding headache usually on just one side of the head. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, the condition affects around 39 million American people of all ages and about 1 billion people around the world.
It is known to be the third most prevalent illness and the sixth most disabling one in the world. In the United States, 10 percent of children, 6 percent of men, and 18 percent of women suffer from the condition.
Estrogen or oestrogen is the main female sex hormone that is responsible for developing and regulating the reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics in women. It helps women grow during puberty and is part of the menstrual cycle.
Estrogen is known to have an effect on women's migraines, their frequency, and their severity. However, scientists aren't sure whether the sex hormone is also involved in men's migraines.
The New Study
Now, in the new study published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology on June 27, researchers have found a link between estrogen levels and migraines in men.
The researchers involved two groups of male individuals and took blood samples from them to compare the differences in their estrogen and testosterone levels in their blood. One group consisted of 17 individuals who suffered migraines and the other group consisted of 22 individuals who don't suffer from the condition.
They collected four blood samples from each individual in a day. They also took blood samples from those who had migraines on days when the sufferers did not experience any migraine attack.
The researchers found that the participants who suffered from migraines had higher levels of estrogen between migraines than those without. Levels of testosterone, on the other hand, were found to be almost identical in these two groups.
In addition to the blood samples, the researchers also surveyed the participants about symptoms related to their testosterone levels.
They found that those who suffered migraines also experienced symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle stiffness, and sexual disorders, which are commonly observed in people with lower levels of testosterone.
Despite having similar levels of testosterone with those without migraines, the sufferers still experienced these symptoms, the researchers noted.
"Further studies are needed in larger populations to validate our findings," said Van Oosterhout, the author of the study. "The exact role of estrogen in men with migraine, and whether fluctuations in estrogen may be associated with migraine activity, like they are in women, needs to be fully investigated."