Is there a link between migraines, oestrogen and breast cancer?

By Drum Digital
23 May 2014

Do you often suffer from debilitating headaches or migraines? It might be more than just the sound of screaming kids or the normal stress of being a mom that’s making your head throb. In a recent study it was found your hormones might play a role.

The study was done at the Institute of Psychiatric Research in New York and found there are dramatic changes to the nervous system during times when oestrogen changes significantly such as during puberty, menopause or when you’ve just had a baby.

Dr Elliot Shevel from The Headache Clinic in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban explains a system of arteries and veins depicted in this research links migraines to fluctuating hormone levels. “Oestrogen works directly on the structures of the brain. The study has been able to show precisely the link between these changing oestrogen levels and the central nervous system.”

The good news though is it was also found women who suffer from migraines have a lower risk of breast cancer. One of the explanations for this could be migraine sufferers are less likely to use oral contraceptives and alcohol which have been believed to be linked to breast cancer, says Dr Shevel.

If you think you need help coping with headaches and migraines don’t delay seeking medical attention – make an appointment with your doctor today.

For more information on migraines go to

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