Cluster headaches may be more common in men, but the disorder may be more severe in women. neurology, The medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
Dr. Andrea C. Belin, study author at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, said: AAN Press Release“It’s important for doctors to be aware of how symptoms differ between men and women so that they can provide the most effective treatment as soon as possible.”
The study authors noted that previous studies of gender differences headache types yielded conflicting results. To gain insight into the gender-specific characteristics of cluster headache, Bellin and colleagues screened his medical records from 2014 to 2020 from hospitals and neurological clinics across Sweden to determine if a cluster headache diagnosis was made. We identified 874 confirmed individuals (66% of men) for inclusion in the study. Each participant completed a detailed questionnaire on symptoms, medications, headache triggers, and lifestyle, and all variables were compared with respect to gender.
Researchers found that more women than men were diagnosed with chronic cluster headaches (18% vs. 9%; P.=.0002), defined for the purposes of this study as uninterrupted recurrence of cluster headache attacks for ≥ 1 year or short, symptom-free discontinuations lasting less than 3 months.
Investigators also noted that the attacks lasted longer in women than in men. For example, 8% of women said their headache attacks lasted an average of 4-7 months, 5% of men and 26% of women said their headache attacks lasted an average of less than 1 month. Men were 30%. Furthermore, women received prophylactic treatment more frequently than men (60% vs. 48%, P.=.0005), according to research results.
Regarding related symptoms, women experienced ptosis (61% vs 47%, P.=.0002) and restlessness (54% vs 46%, P.=.02) more than men. More women had a family history of cluster headaches (15% vs 7%, P.=.0002) and reported more frequent seizure diurnal rhythms compared to men (74% vs 63%, P.=.002).
Alcohol as a trigger for cluster headache occurred more frequently in men than women (54% vs 48%, P.=.01), with sleep deprivation leading to aggression being more common in women (31% vs 20%, P.=.001).
“This is the largest study of sex differences that has been validated. cluster headache This may help to improve our understanding of how the disorder presents differently in men and women,” Bellin and colleagues concluded. Women are still often misdiagnosed because certain features mimic a migraine-like phenotype. Recognizing these gender differences is paramount when enabling us to do so.”
A limitation of this study was that all data were self-reported. This may introduce recall biases, for example, in relation to medication use and the progression of certain headaches. Furthermore, the study was designed based on observations, making it difficult to infer causality from reported associations.
reference: Belin AC, Fourier C, Ran C, et al. Gender differences in clinical characteristics, treatment, and lifestyle factors in patients with cluster headache. Neurology. Published online December 21, 2022. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000201688.