Importance and objectives:
This narrative review addresses common clinical questions and concerns of both physicians and patients about migraine during and after the perimenopausal transition, specifically (1) How does the perimenopausal transition affect migraine prevalence and does this vary by migraine type? (2) Does the magnitude of stroke risk associated with migraine increase with hormone therapy (HT)?, and (3) What are best practices as regards migraine treatment in perimenopausal women?
We searched PubMed from 2010 through the present. Search terms included migraine, menopause, and HT. Articles were included if they were in English and had full text availability. In addition, key references identified in the search articles were included.
Discussion and conclusion:
Many women are informed that their migraines will disappear postmenopause; there are some data to support this, but a specific time frame has not been evidenced. Stroke risk in women with migraine with aura is small in absolute terms, but important at the population level, because migraine is so prevalent. The risk becomes clinically important in the context of additional stroke risk factors, which increase with aging such as hypertension. Estrogen in combined hormonal contraception increases the risk of an ischemic stroke, however, the lower amount of estrogen in HT may not contribute to a meaningful increase in stroke risk. HT is a preventative sex-specific treatment for female migraineurs for the menopausal transition. Sex differences for other conventional treatments outside their use in menstrual and menstrually related migraine have not been studied specifically in the menopausal transition.