Research reveals migraines linked to obesity in women

Woman with headache holding forehead in handRecent research has shown that girls that suffer migraines throughout their teenage years are more likely to gain weight in adulthood.

“Women with a history of diagnosed pediatric migraine had a 1.67-fold higher odds of gaining ≥10.0 kg above their weight at age 18, as compared with non-migraineurs.”

Although the reason for the increase in weight for women that suffer from migraines is not known, the connection certainly exists. As their is a known connection, people can take action to attempt to reduce the chances of becoming overweight.

Reasons for increase in weight

There are several possible reasons why women who suffer from migraines gain more weight than those who do not. The most popular theories currently are:

  • A reduction in activity due to migraines leads to people becoming much less active. Some people people choose to manage their headaches by lying down in darkened rooms for long periods of time.
  • Another possible problem is that when a person is suffering from a migraine they are more likely to be comfort eating to try to cope with the feelings of ill health. Migraines can lead to depression and lower self esteem, both of which can affect weight.
  • Migraine sufferers often experience reduced social interaction which again leads to reduction in self esteem causing increased comfort eating.
  • Hormonal issues causing increased appetite. The connection between the various hormones and appetite are still being understood, but it is generally accepted that depression ofter triggers comfort eating.

If you suffer from a lot of migraines it is important to be aware of the risks of excessive weight gain. Being overweight carries many more health problems so effort must be taken to reduce weight gain by following a healthy diet plan and taking regular exercise whenever possible.


Body Mass Index and Adult Weight Gain Among Reproductive Age Women With Migraine” by Michelle Vo†, Abinnet Ainalem†, Chunfang Qiu MD, MS, B. Lee Peterlin DO, Sheena K. Aurora MD, Michelle A. Williams ScD. Article first published online: 26 JAN 2011DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2010.01833.x. Publication: Headache

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