Migraine has been thought, for many years, to be a woman’s disease. Women got migraine when they were pregnant, or when they were stressed. Men rarely experienced migraine, according to the common belief.
Now, however, it is becoming clear that men also may be prone to migraine.
Online Survey Results
A recent online survey (October 2007) conducted by the National Headache Foundation (NHF) resulted in a finding that men who were diagnosed with headache of some kind were most often diagnosed with migraine headache. In the United States alone, it is estimated, about 7.5 million men experience migraine headaches.
As those who have experienced migraine will attest, migraine headaches can be debilitating. Despite that fact, men tend to take the silent approach when it comes to migraine. They don’t want to talk about it. Executive director of the NHF, Susan Simons, says:
“Unfortunately, many men who are suffering from migraine are not discussing their condition with their health care providers. It is important that men take the time to talk about their headaches so they receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.”
The online survey discovered that almost one third of all men who suffer from headaches never mention them to their physicians. Those who responded that they did not visit a healthcare provider about headaches made up a full twenty-four percent of those taking the survey. Men believed they should “soldier on” and that it would be a sign of weakness to talk to a doctor about their headaches. Even when the headache was migraine, men thought it was not something important enough to require physician’s care.
In the Genes
More than half of the men (55%) who reported that they had headaches had a family history of headaches. Whether they were migraine or not was not always known. A little over half said their mothers had headaches.
“It is important for people who suffer from headaches – both men and women – to visit their health care providers and discuss their headaches,” said Dr. Roger Cady, vice president and board member of the NHF. “Headaches can be treated and managed, so there is no need for men to tough them out.
6% Migraine of Men
It is said that about six percent of men will report experiencing a migraine in their lifetimes. That is compared to seventeen percent of women.
Migraine can be relieved. Men (and women) need not soldier on in pain. Start by determining what causes your migraine. You don’t need a fancy journal, but jot down everything you remember about what was happening just before your headache. Include triggers such as food you ate, stress, environmental changes, etc. You will probably find that your migraines are produced by more than one trigger. Having identified them, you can take steps to avoid those triggers.
In addition, be sure you get sufficient sleep and exercise, and eat regularly to get migraine relief.
CAUTION: On rare occasions migraine is associated with other, more serious problems. Please consult your physician about your migraine headaches.