Menstrual migraine

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Menstrual migraine is prevalent but it is only recently that research has specifically addressed the pathophysiology and management of this disabling condition.

Recent findings

For many years, menstrual migraine was a loose term used to describe an undefined association between migraine and menstruation. The introduction of recognized criteria has improved the diagnosis and enabled the study of a more homogenous population of women with this condition. As a consequence, studies have addressed putative mechanisms, particularly the association between oestrogen ‘withdrawal’ and migraine. It is recognised that other mechanisms have yet to be identified. Studies have confirmed the efficacy of perimenstrual prophylaxis with triptans and physiological doses of oestrogen. Despite robust data from randomized placebo-controlled studies, no treatments are licensed specifically for this indication at the time of writing.

Summary

Recognition of menstrual migraine as a specific entity has resulted in improved diagnosis and increased research into the condition. However, our understanding of the pathophysiology and the consequent development of effective management strategies remain limited.

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