Men with Migraines – The Effects of Estrogen

The female sex hormone, estrogen, is a common trigger for migraines in women, but new research suggests it may also affect how men respond to migraine as well. In this study, it was discovered that men who are susceptible to migraine attacks may have higher levels of estrogen than men who are migraine-free. Although estrogen is perhaps best known as the female reproductive hormone, men also have estrogen in their systems, although in lower levels.

Migraine affects approximately 15 percent of the global population (or 1 in 7 people) and is the third most common disease in the world. While women are three times more likely to live with migraine than men, there are certain attributes that may make men vulnerable to these debilitating headaches. The study above suggests that men who have an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen levels may be more prone to migraines, a groundbreaking revelation that we’re going to look at in more depth today.

Why Does Estrogen Matter?

We were taught in sex ed that testosterone and estrogen are the respective male and female reproductive hormones, correct? However, estrogen also plays a significant role in male sexual function. Other important functions of estrogen include it:

●       Keeps cholesterol levels balanced

●       Contributes to overall brain function, including changes in mood and mental health

●       Supports bone formation

●       Contributes to blood clotting

●       Can affect the skin, heart, bones, and other tissues

Recent studies have focused on how increased estrogen levels can lead to more frequent migraines in women – especially during childbearing years – but what about men who have elevated estrogen levels?

Typically, testosterone protects men from migraines, shielding the brain and changing how the cells react to stimuli and other chemical changes that may contribute to migraine. Thanks to new research, we are now learning that men who display a testosterone deficiency are more prone to severe symptoms of migraine. Some of these symptoms include:

●       Mood disorders

●       Changes in energy levels

●       Sexual dysfunction or disorders

●       Brain fog and memory loss

How Estrogen Levels Affect Migraine Frequency in Men

Estradiol, specifically, is the main form of estrogen in men that works to regulate erectile function and the libido. We know that hormones can directly affect your sex life (or lack thereof), but what else happens when estrogen levels are off-balance in men? Further research is needed to really know.

If fluctuations in estrogen can lead to more migraines in women, could the same be true for men? Probably.

What Can I Do About It?

There are many different types of migraine and even more triggers and factors that contribute to what a migraine looks like in both men and women. As we’ve discussed today, one place we should turn our focus to when studying the prevalence of migraine in men is hormone levels. Blood tests can show whether a man’s estrogen and testosterone levels are imbalanced, which could then you find a migraine treatment plan that works best for your internal chemistry.

If you are a man who suffers from migraines, checking out your hormone levels could be a great place to start.

Sources

Neurology Times – Estrogen, Migraines, and Men

Healthline – Men Who Get Migraine Headaches May Have Higher Estrogen Levels

Medscape – Estrogen May Also Trigger Migraine in Men

Neuroscience News – Men with Migraine May Have Higher Levels of Estrogen