Menstrual migraines are common amongst female migraineurs. Now it turns out, they may begin having these headaches even before their periods start. According to new research from the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, children as young as nine report monthly headaches, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound—symptoms that meet the definition of menstrual migraine.

Researchers studied the headache patterns of 896 girls between the ages of 9 and 18. Just over 50% of those who had begun menstruating had headaches during their periods, while 37% percent of all girls reported monthly headaches, whether or not they had started menstruating. Of those who hadn’t started their periods, 160 girls reported a monthly pattern to their headaches, which suggests a “menstrually-related migraine pattern” prior to menstruation, according to Andrew Hershey, MD, PhD, Director of the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“By recognizing that adolescent girls experience a menstrual pattern to their migraines, practitioners are able to formulate treatment plans for girls,” said Dr. Hershey. “The predictive nature of menstrual migraines makes treatment to prevent them from occurring an effective option.”

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