Association Between Obesity and Migraine in Women

  • Jelena M. PavlovicEmail author
  • Julio R. Vieira
  • Richard B. Lipton
  • Dale S. Bond
Migraine and Beyond (R Cowan, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Migraine and Beyond


Purpose of Review

Migraine is a common and highly disabling condition that is particularly prevalent among women and especially women of reproductive age. The tremendous rise in adiposity in the Western world has led to an epidemic of obesity in women. The particular effects of obesity on women with migraine of various ages are the focus of this review.

Recent Findings

Conflicting findings from various studies with different approaches and populations have made challenging definitive conclusions about associations between migraine and obesity. While the association between obesity and migraine frequency has been consistently demonstrated and obesity is considered a risk factor for progression from episodic to chronic migraine, the association between obesity and migraine prevalence is still somewhat debated and appears to be dependent on gender and age, with the most consistent effects observed in women younger than 55 years of age.


Association between migraine and obesity is most commonly observed in women of reproductive age. The multimodal changes associated with age and hormonal change in women likely play a role in this relationship, as obesity does not appear to be related to migraine in women over 55 years of age. Future studies focusing on the migraine-obesity relationship in women should examine the effects of age, endogenous hormonal state, and exogenous hormones on migraine and obesity.


Migraine Obesity Women’s health Hormones BMI Headache 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Jelena M. Pavlovic declares grant support from the NIH (K23AG049466), and honoraria from Allergan and the American Headache Society for consultant work.

Richard B. Lipton declares research support from the NIH: 2PO1 AG003949 (program director), 5U10 NS077308 (PI), 1RO1 AG042595 (investigator), RO1 NS082432 (investigator), K23 NS09610 (mentor), and K23AG049466 (mentor). He also receives support from the Migraine Research Foundation and the National Headache Foundation. He serves on the Editorial Board of Neurology and as senior advisor to Headache. He has reviewed for the NIA and NINDS, holds stock options in eNeura Therapeutics; serves as consultant, advisory board member, or has received honoraria from American Academy of Neurology, Alder, Allergan, American Headache Society, Amgen, Autonomic Technologies, Avanir, Biohaven, Biovision, Boston Scientific, Colucid, Dr. Reddy’s, Electrocore, Eli Lilly, eNeura Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKlein, Merck, Pernix, Pfizer, Supernus, Teva, Trigemina, Vector, and Vedanta. He receives royalties from Wolff’s Headache, 8th Edition, Oxford Press University, 2009, Wiley and Informa.

Julio R. Vieira and Dale S. Bond declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelena M. Pavlovic
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julio R. Vieira
    • 1
    • 3
  • Richard B. Lipton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dale S. Bond
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Montefiore Headache CenterBronxUSA
  3. 3.Health Quest NeurologyKingstonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorAlpert Medical School of Brown University, The Miriam Hospital/Weight Control and Diabetes Research CenterProvidenceUSA

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