Women who suffer from migraines, or have had them in the past, are at higher risk of developing depression, new research has found.
The Women’s Health Study of 36,154 women discovered that 6, 456 had suffered from migraines either in the past or in the present.
After a 14-year follow up, researchers discovered 3,971 of the female migraine sufferers had developed depression.
Researchers from the study, which was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute, spoke to over 36,000 women without depression and questioned them about their experiences with migraines.
Women were asked whether they ever had a migraine with aura, where the vision is temporarily impaired, and without aura, as well as their history of migraines.
The study, by the University of California, found that women with any history of migraines were 40% more likely to develop a form of depression later in life compared to those without who had never suffered from a migraine.
Although non-aura migraine sufferers had a 29% increased chance of depression, researchers were surprised that the difference wasn’t statistically significant.
Researchers added that they were unable to draw any conclusions about the link between depression and migraines in men, as their research focused specifically on women.
"We hope our findings will encourage doctors to speak to their migraine patients about the risk of depression and potential ways to prevent depression,” said Dr Tobias Kurth from the study, as reported on EurkeAlert!
The study questioned whether a baby’s colic is an early symptom of migraine rather than it being a gastrointestinal problem caused by certain foods. Despite the latter being the common diagnosis, after 50 years of research, there is still no solid evidence between colic and stomach problems.
Researchers hoped that the migraine link could help treat baby’s cries by reducing stimulation, noise and light – just like with migraines.
According to the Migraine Trust, there are around 190,000 migraine attacks everyday in the UK. Over half (54%) of migraine sufferers experience one or more attacks per month, and 13% claim one or more a week.
Women are more likely to have a migraine attack than men, with 18% of women claiming to have suffered at least once in their lifetime compared to 8% of men.
Migraines hit the headlines recently after it was revealed that thousands of headache sufferers could benefit from free Botox on the NHS.