The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, California. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AHS 2018.

SAN FRANCISCO — Women with a history of migraine often develop migraine pattern change during the menopausal transition. Worsening or new onset migraine identified in women during their peri-menopausal or post-menopausal status allows clinicians to provide a more accurate diagnosis and optimize treatment of migraine headaches, according to research presented at the American Headache Society’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting, held June 27-July 1, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

This retrospective study sought to assess migraine patterns in 69 menopausal women between ages 40 and 60 who were treated at Partners Healthcare Hospitals for concurrent migraine headache. Sixty participants had a history of migraine and 9 had new-onset migraine. Of the women with a history of migraine, 35 experienced migraine pattern change or worsening headaches during menopause.

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Evaluating the menopausal status of the study participants revealed that more women developed migraine pattern changes, worsening, or new-onset migraine during peri-menopausal and post-menopausal stages than during the pre-menopausal stage. In addition, magnetic resonance imaging results showed an increase in pituitary abnormalities among women with new-onset migraine vs those with a history of migraine.

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Although the results of the study indicate that 60% of women develop migraine pattern changes, worsening, or new-onset migraine during the menopausal transition, the researchers suggest that menopausal status is important in the clinical management of migraine headaches in women. Identifying pituitary abnormalities in those with new-onset migraine further supports a more accurate clinical diagnosis and treatment approach.

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Cheng YC, Maleki N. Migraine pattern changes in women during the menopause transition. Presented at: 2018 American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting. June 27-July 1, 2018; San Francisco, CA. Abstract 449916.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor