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Women suffer from migraine three times as often as men. It seems to run in families, passing from mother to daughter.
Migraine may start during childhood, even as young as six months, but in the child, migraine is more likely to be in equivalent form, often as abdominal pain.
True or “classical” migraine may not start until the 20s, but a careful history will often reveal that the girl suffered from abdominal pains as a child and “ordinary” headaches and the occasional “sick headache” as a teenager.
Migraine headaches are influenced by many factors. In women, hormones seem to play an important part.
Migraine is common in the premenstrual phase, where the rising level of the hormone, oestrogen, is believed to be responsible for the full, bloated feeling due to retained fluid and the irritable personality and reduced performance of many women at this time.
In some women, migraine occurs at mid-cycle when they ovulate.
In half the sufferers, pregnancy provides a respite but the headaches return once the child is born.
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