Genetics in Primary Headaches

Headaches seem to be a common occurrence among people and can be caused by various triggers. But certain studies have shown that gender and heredity may have a role in some forms of headaches.

Many severe forms of headaches such as migraines and cluster can cause quite a life changing experience for those who suffer from it. Even the lesser ones such as tension headaches can cause problems for many people. Although there are still a lot that experts need to know about severe forms of headaches and how it affects people, many see a strong connection between gender and heredity to migraines.

Women and Migraines

According to studies, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. Those women who suffer from migraines also most likely would have a first degree relative who may also be suffering from the same affliction. It seems in women, genetics and hormones usually play a big role.

Hormones and Headaches

In the case of women, most of them usually are affected by migraines between puberty and menopause. The known reason for this is hormonal. The decline in estrogen production in the body triggers the migraines in most women.

The migraines are usually associated with the women’s menstrual cycle. The prevalence of headaches among girls and boys seem to be equal until the girls reach puberty. The female then begins to suffer from migraines more than males.

With hormones playing a role in the prevalence of migraine headaches, the number of fluctuations in the hormone levels seem to aggravate them. Changing hormone levels can cause women to feel worse migraines that can usually be stabilized by taking birth control pills which can stabilize a woman’s hormone levels.

Hormone Replacement Therapy may also affect the degree of migraines that women feel due to the fact that it can bring that surge of hormonal levels and their subsequent decline in a short period of time.

Heredity and Headaches

Many patients of migraines also seem to report a family history with relatives also suffering from the same condition. Experts believe that people with migraines may inherit the abnormal genes from their family that control certain functions of brain cells associated with migraine headaches.

Genetics seem to play a special role in people developing migraine headaches with aura, or those that show visual symptoms such as seeing flashing lights, affected by temporary blind spots or even temporarily losing sight.


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