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Thelarche and menarche are associated with increased prevalence of migraine



The age at which adolescent girls experience thelarche and menarche is associated with the prevalence of migraine during later adolescence, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society. The results suggest that earlier exposure to estrogen increases the risk for migraine in adolescent girls, said Vincent Martin, MD, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

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Previous studies observed an association between earlier onset of menarche and greater prevalence of migraine in adolescent girls, but no investigators had examined the relationship between earlier stages of pubertal development, such as thelarche and pubarche, and migraine.

Dr. Martin and colleagues included participants in the Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program puberty cohort in their study. Physicians examined the girls every 6 to 12 months from the time that they were aged 6-8 years to the time of late adolescence. During the last examination, participants responded to a validated questionnaire to determine whether they met International Classification of Headache Disorders–3 criteria for a diagnosis of migraine. Dr. Martin and colleagues performed logistic regression to examine whether age at thelarche, pubarche, or menarche predicted migraine.

Of 761 girls included in this study, 85 (11.2%) received a diagnosis of migraine. The mean age at which the questionnaire was administered was 15.6 years. After adjusting the data for potential confounders, the researchers found that an earlier age of onset of thelarche and menarche was associated with a higher prevalence of migraine. A 1-year decrease in the age of onset of thelarche or menarche was associated with a 32.8% or 33.8% increase in the odds of migraine headache, respectively. Pubarche was not associated with migraine.

Dr. Martin had no relevant disclosures.

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