Migraines Don’t Discriminate – What You Need to Know About Migraines in Men
By now, you know that migraines are more prominent in women than in men, with women being three times more likely to suffer from the condition than men. While rare, migraines in men are just as debilitating and difficult to treat as migraines in women; therefore, it’s time we touch on this subject.
In this post, I’m going to review some statistics about men with migraines, how migraines in men are different from those in women, and simple ways men can help treat and prevent their migraines.
What You Need to Know About Migraines in Men
Migraines are hard to diagnose. Millions are under diagnosed or not diagnosed at all, and therefore never receive proper treatment. A lot of it is because there’s just not enough medical education about the condition. Therefore, I want to touch on some statistics and information about male migraines that you may not know.
- The Migraine Awareness Group did a study that found 70% of men with migraines have never been diagnosed with migraines.
- The Migraine Research Foundation reports that 1 in 18 men suffer from migraines.
- Men with migraines are 42% more likely to have a heart attack than men without.
- Migraines are often mistaken for a sinus headache because symptoms are similar.
- Contact sports make migraines in men more likely because of concussions, which raises the likelihood to 86%.
- Military personnel with TBI or PTSD are at greater risk for developing migraines.
- Men aged 40 are more likely to have a migraine than erectile dysfunction or prostate cancer, despite what TV and radio ads tell you.
- 1 in 20 40-year-old men have ED
- 1 in 38 men between 40-59 have prostate cancer
- #2 above
- There’s a 50% chance of passing the migraine condition to children, so obtaining a diagnosis is essential for the health of your kids.
- There are about 9 million men with migraines in the United States.
How Migraines Are Different in Men
The most significant difference in men with migraines is the hormonal fluctuations. Most women will get migraines because of massive monthly and life cycle hormonal changes, but men don’t experience that kind of physiological chaos. That doesn’t mean they don’t have hormonal changes, though.
On average, men will have six attacks a month, while women have seven. That’s not a significant difference. Furthermore, the intensity is slightly different, with women reporting pain a 6 on a scale of 1-10 and men choosing 5. Studies show that this is because of the higher estrogen levels in women, not because of lower pain thresholds in women.
Treat and Prevent Migraines in Men
We all know how hard it is to get men to seek out medical attention, but resistance usually comes from the kind of men who would take their cars to the garage because the stick shift wiggled weird. There’s just too much stigma. The culture we live in convinces men that going to the doctor and seeking help is “weakness.”
This is wrong. Very wrong. Your health is your most valuable asset, so don’t let anyone take that from you. See the doctor, get well, and teach others how to manage the condition.
To help men with migraines ease into seeking help for their condition, I’ve come up with a few tips to help with their migraines. I know, it’s not as glamorous as talking about the transmission, tire rotations, and oil changes, but it’s still beneficial.
Before jumping on the pharmaceutical bandwagon for migraine treatment, consider focusing on the triggers and finding ways to reduce them. Common migraine triggers in men are:
- Sex and rigorous physical activity
- Alcohol intake
- Weather changes
- Missed meals/low blood sugar
- Lack of restorative sleep
- Smoke or strong odors
Foods and ingredients can also trigger migraines in men, including:
- Citrus fruits
- All vinegar, except white vinegar
So, what are some treatment options for men with migraine?
- Use medications only when necessary,
- Find the trigger that is the biggest problem and find ways to reduce exposure.
- For example, if lack of sleep leads to a migraine attack, it’s time to learn good sleep hygiene tactics to get quality, restorative sleep.
- Eat regular healthy meals, and stay away from trigger foods.
- Exercise regularly, but if rigorous activity is the cause of your migraines, consider slowing down a bit and focusing more on steady endurance than faster heart rates.
- Drink plenty of water. This will depend on your size, gender, and activity levels. Check out Mayo Clinic’s information about normal water intake.
The most important thing to take away from this post is that migraines are nondiscriminatory; while they are more prominent in women, millions of men suffer as well. The condition has a genetic link, so if you have migraines, there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll pass it on to your children; therefore, having action plans in place is vital to the well-being of your children. Take the time to determine what kind of triggers you’re experiencing, and then put all your energy into finding ways to decrease the severity, frequency, and duration of migraine attacks.
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