Latest Menopause News
Migraine doesn't cause more or worse hot flashes — or vice versa. But both are believed to be related to changes in blood vessels known as neurovascular dysregulation, according to Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Faubion led a study that examined migraine, menopause and heart disease. She was scheduled to present the findings Wednesday at the NAMS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The study included more than 3,300 women (average age, 53), including 27% with a history of migraine.
Women with a history of migraine reported significantly worse menopause symptoms and were more likely to have severe or very severe hot flashes than women with no history of migraine, the investigators found.
"We may be able to better identify which women may have a worse time with hot flashes using this information, and be more proactive with strategies on prevention and treatment," Faubion suggested.
If you're a candidate for HRT, your doctor will likely prescribe a skin patch instead of pills, because hormone patches have fewer side effects, Faubion explained.
The bigger picture involves using findings from this new research to develop a better risk model for heart disease in women, she said.
"There are many female-specific risks for heart disease including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and possibly hot flashes during menopause," Faubion said. "Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and we are still using risk prediction models made for men." This must change, she added.
Rebecca Thurston, past president of NAMS, is director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. She reviewed the study findings.
"This study… confirms that women with a history of migraine are at increased risk for severe hot flashes at midlife," Thurston said.
Meanwhile, a New York obstetrician/gynecologist pointed out that there are many ways to cope with hot flashes.
They include drinking more water, dressing in easily removable layers and carrying a small fan, said Dr. Jennifer Wu, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Non-hormonal treatments such as antidepressants may also help, Wu added.
Wu, who was not involved in the study, said all women going through menopause should see their doctor to make sure any heart-related risk factors are in check, whether or not they experience migraines or severe hot flashes.
The North American Menopause Society offers more about keeping your heart healthy at menopause.
SOURCES: Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director, North American Menopause Society, Pepper Pike, Ohio; Rebecca Thurston, PhD, director, Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh; Jennifer Wu, MD, obstetrician-gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; North American Menopause Society, annual meeting, Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2021
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