Menstrual migraine

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Migraine is a common disorder that is disproportionately prevalent in women, especially during the reproductive years. Hormonal changes may play a role in the etiology of migraine, as many women note that their migraine attacks occur in temporal relationship with their menses. The Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society has recently defined menstrual and menstrually related migraine. We review the most relevant and recent literature on menstrual migraine, with a special focus on pathophysiology and therapy. Although the pathogenesis of menstrual and menstrually related migraine is not well understood, estrogen withdrawal seems to play an important role as a trigger for menstrual migraine attacks. The therapeutic approach also may differ from the treatment of nonmenstrual migraine. Some patients do not require prophylaxis when they can abort their attacks effectively, whereas others may benefit from perimenstrual prophylaxis or standard migraine prophylaxis.