Chronic migraines can contribute to relationship problems and have a detrimental effect on family life. Here are three ways migraine pain can affect women and relationships.
Migraine is a pervasive disease that can negatively affect many aspects of family life and place a burden on all members of the family. Three new studies show the impact of migraine, in particular upon women: one in 10 chronic migraine patients say they have delayed having children or had fewer children because of their headaches; a mother’s migraine impacts on her children; and the pattern of migraine changes in women as they transition to menopause.
Chronic migraines can contribute to relationship problems and have a detrimental effect on family life, including a delay in having children or having fewer children.
The CaMEO study, a prospective, longitudinal, webâbased survey, was designed to characterize migraine impact. Among 13,064 respondents, of those not currently in a relationship (3189), respondents with chronic migraine were significantly more likely to indicate that headaches had contributed to relationship problems. Of those in a relationship and living together (8127), 78.2% of respondents with chronic migraine agreed they would be a better partner if they did not have headaches; 9.6% stated they had delayed having children or had fewer children because of headaches.
“Respondents with chronic migraine are more significantly likely than those with episodic migraine to report headaches contribute to relationship problems,” stated the authors, led by Dawn Buse, PhD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. The researchers suggest that personalized treatment plans include behavioral interventions for the patient, the couple, and other family members.
Source: Buse D, et al. Life with migraine, effect on relationships: Results of the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) Study. American Headache Society 2018, Abstract OR-06.
Migraine not only has a significant impact on the patient but the patient’s children as well.
An observational study included 51 parents who experienced migraine and 41 children, ages 11 to 17 years, living at home who completed the survey. Half of the children also experienced migraines. The parents (all were mothers, except one) had a median of 6.8 headaches per month, with an average severity of 6.8; two-thirds reported severe disability. Parents and children both reported that the parents' migraine had a moderate impact, with the strongest effects seen on the child's overall well-being and parent-child relationships. They also reported a burden of providing daily help and emotional impact. Approximately half of the children reported it would be helpful to receive training in caring for a parent with migraine.
“Children of parents with migraine reported moderate levels of burden due to parental migraine. The greatest burden was in global wellâbeing, parent/child relationships, lack of daily help and emotional impact,” stated the researchers, led by Elizabeth Seng, PhD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY.
Seng E, et al. When mom has migraine: An observational study of the burden of parental migraine on children. American Headache Society 2018; Abstract OR-07.
More than half of women show a change or worsening of their migraine headaches during menopause.
A retrospective study identified 69 women with concurrent diagnoses of migraine and menopause; 60 women had a history of migraine and 9 had new onset migraine. Among those with a history of migraine, 35 women (58.33%) had migraine pattern change or worsening of their migraine headaches. The other 25 women with migraine history were in a stable status with no change in the pattern of their headaches. For the patients with migraine history, one-quarter were during periâmenopausal stage, one-third during postâmenopausal stage, and 1 in 7 were during the preâmenopausal stage. Three women got worsening because of other causes and another 3 women did not have records on their menopausal status.
“For the women with migraine history at the menopausal age, 60% of them develop migraine pattern change, worsening or new onset migraine. These changes are mostly during their periâmenopausal or postâmenopausal status. Identifying the migraine worsening or new onset migraine during the menopausal transition age may help the diagnosis and treatment optimization of migraine for women during the menopausal age,” stated the researchers, led by Y. Cheng of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, in Boston, MA.
Cheng Y, et al. Migraine Pattern Changes in Women During the Menopause Transition. American Headache Society 2018; Abstract OR-16.