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.
Keywords: BMI; Headache; Hormones; Migraine; Obesity; Women’s health.