Sex and gender differences in migraines: a narrative review

Maria Francesca Rossi, Antonio Tumminello, Matteo Marconi, Maria Rosaria Gualano, Paolo Emilio Santoro, Walter Malorni, Umberto Moscato

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Introduction: Gender medicine is a new medical approach aimed at the study of the differences between women and men in terms of prevention, diagnosis, and the outcome of all diseases. Migraines are among these. They represent the most common neurological illness; they are most prevalent in adults between 20 and 50 years of age and are three to four times more frequent in woman than in men. Affecting people in working age, migraines are a problem that strongly impacts the psychophysical health and productivity of workers, regardless of the specific job task they have. Methods: A narrative review was performed, searching for the most relevant articles describing gender differences in people suffering from migraines, and particularly in workers. Results: Migraine global prevalence is 20.7% in women and 9.7% in men whereas prevalence in Italy is 32.9% for women and only 13.0% for men. This difference is partly explained by hormonal differences, as well as by differences in brain structure, genetic polymorphisms and neuronal pathways. Sex differences may also play a role in the progression from episodic to chronic migraine. In workers, migraines are mostly associated with strenuous physical work in men, whilst migraines triggered by night shifts, lack of sleep, or irregular sleep patterns are more common in women. Conclusions: To this day, the reasons of sex/gender disparity for migraine are still obscure. However, migraines, chronic migraine in particular, have a negative impact on the lives of all individuals affected by this disease, but particularly in women in which family cares and working activity are often superimposed. Migraine prevention strategies should be planned in workers through the occupational health physician.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
RivistaNeurological Sciences
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Gender medicine
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Occupational health


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