Migraines ‘Double Depression Risk In Women'

Migraines Increase Risk Of Depression Women

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 23/02/2012 14:31 Updated: 23/02/2012 14:31

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!

This research follows another study by the University of California, which found that mothers who suffer from migraine headaches are twice as likely to have babies with colic.

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.

Loading Slideshow...
  • How To Ease, Treat And Prevent Migraines

  • Prescribed Medication

    If you suffer from regular migraines, your doctor might prescribe you acute (treatment) and prophylactic (prevention) medicine. You may be given the following: <strong>Anticonvulsant</strong>, such as divaloproex sodium (sodium valproate), topiramate or gabapentin <strong>Antidepressant</strong>, such as amitriptyline <strong>Antihistimine</strong>, such as cyproheptadine <strong>Beta-blockers</strong>, such as propranolol, metoprolol, timolol, nadolol <strong>Anti-inflammatory drug</strong>, such as pizotefen Not all medication has to be prescibred as you can get the following non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) over-the-counter: Apisrin Ibuprofen Paracetamol Codeine

  • Self-Help

    If you don't want to take medication and prefer to treat the problem mechanically, you can try the following at home: <strong>Change your temperature.</strong> Try applying an icepack, or a hot water bottle, to the painful area. Hot or cold showers and a long soak in the bath does help some sufferers, or try soaking the hands and feet in hot or cold water. <strong>Apply pressure.</strong> Try applying pressure to the pulse points on the side of the forehead or neck to relieve the headache. <strong>Moderate exercise.</strong> Experts claim that easy exercise, like swimming and brisk walking, can have a therapeutic effect on migraines. <strong>Keep a diary.</strong> Note down symptoms, date and time of attacks and what you've eaten and drunk. This will help you identify possible triggers.

  • Salt Supply

    Lack of sodium can be pinpointed as a cause of migraines and could explain why migraine sufferers crave a salty snack after an attack. In moderation, salt can have health benefits, so if you feel the onset of a migraine developing, add a tiny amount of salt into a glass of water and sip slowly.

  • Complementary Therapy

    Some migraine sufferers swear by complementary treatments like the following: <strong>Acupuncture.</strong> A type of alternative medicine that treats patients by insertion and manipulation of thin needles in the body, stimulating the anatomical locations under the skin called acupuncture points. <strong>Chiropractic.</strong> Helps treat and prevent neuromusculoskeletal condition by manipulating the spine, joints and soft tissue. <strong> Homoeopathy.</strong> A form of alternative natural medicine that treats patients with liquid 'remedies' that apparently help relieve pain. <strong>Herbalism.</strong> An old traditional form of medicine made entirely of plants and plant extracts which help relieve pain and discomfort from within.

  • Drink More

    It sounds obvious, but a big cause of migraines is down to dehydration. It's currently recommended that people drink between six to eight glasses of water a drink to help keep the body functioning properly.

  • Botox

    Botox injections were licensed in 2010 to be used on people suffering from severe headaches and migraines. Although the evidence surrounding this treatment is still inconclusive, previous clinical trials have proved that it makes a difference if administered regularly. The treatment is currently available privately and costs between £400 to £600.