Studying Headache in Transgender and Gender-Diverse Patients: Jennifer Hranilovich, MD


The assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine spoke on a recent narrative review investigating headache in gender minorities.

“We decided there's not really enough [research] out there to do a formal systematic review; we did what's called a narrative review, where we took our expertise and created a guide for individuals who aren't as familiar with transgender care, but who were familiar with neurology and headache, in particular, on good resources [and] best practices for caring for this population.”

The lack of research within the transgender and gender-diverse population has persisted due to ongoing stigma and barriers to health care and insurance. Jennifer Hranilovich, MD, assistant professor, pediatrics and neurology, Headache Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine/Children’s Hospital Colorado, sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss a recently conducted narrative review, in which she and colleagues reviewed best practices for treating transgender and gender-diverse patients with headache, focusing specifically on how gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) may affect patients’ conditions.

Hranilovich outlined the study, discussing surprising findings about the epidemiology of headache in this patient population, and the general lack of prospective population studies on headache prevalence. This gap was highlighted by a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute funded study, which asked transgender patients about the research they were looking to see within their own population. Responses reflected interest in understanding new migraine onset during GAHT, further speaking to the demand for additional investigation in this area. 

Hranilovich, JA, Kaiser, EA, Pace, A, Barber, M, Ziplow, J. Headache in transgender and gender-diverse patients: A narrative review. Headache. 2021;61:1040-1050. doi:10.1111/head.14171
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