Dealing with Headache: Sex Differences in the Burden of Migraine‐ and Tension‐Type Headache.
DEALING WITH HEADACHE: The aim of this study was to investigate sex differences in the burden of migraine and tension‐type headache (TTH).
Migraine and TTH are more common in women than in men, with differences in comorbidities, treatment responses, disease‐modifying factors, and ictal and interictal burden of disease. Information about sex‐related influences on ictal and interictal burden is limited, and an increased understanding is mandatory to provide tailored individual treatment for female and male patients.
Participants answered an online survey based on the EUROLIGHT questionnaire. Inclusion criteria were the consent to participate, complete responses to the diagnostic questions, and information about their sex. Sex differences were investigated using the Mann–Whitney U test or Chi‐square test. For detecting factors that influence the burden of disease, we built binary regression models. Results: We included 472 (74.6% female) migraineurs and 161 (59.6% female) participants with TTH. Women with migraine reported significantly more problems in their love lives, more self‐concealment, less feelings of being understood by family and friends, more interictal anxiety, a higher pain severity, and more depression and anxiety symptoms than men.
For TTH, we did not find significant sex‐related differences. A higher headache frequency was the factor that increased the burden of disease in female but not in male migraneurs.
The burden of disease was higher in women than men with migraine in many aspects, but not with TTH. Therefore, according to our results, there is a need for sex‐specific precision medicine for migraine but not TTH. Controlling the headache frequency with a proper acute or prophylactic treatment and treating comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms is crucial to ease migraine´s burden, especially in women.
THE STUDY REVEALED A HIGH PREVALENCE OF STIGMATIZATION AND SOCIAL ISOLATION, WITH 39% AVOIDING TELLING OTHERS ABOUT THEIR HEADACHE AND 17% NOT FEELING UNDERSTOOD BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS.