Patients with migraine and subclinical hypothyroidism may see an improvement in their migraine if they receive thyroid treatment, according to a recent study. The research shows that these individuals will have significantly fewer and less severe headaches.

Study investigator Antonasia Bougea, PhD, Department of Neurology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School and Eginition Hospital in Athens, Greece, said the results of their study show patients with migraine should undergo thyroid function tests.

The link between migraine and other headache disorders and hypothyroidism has been studied recently. Hypothyroidism occurs when the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormone, which causes the individual to endure mood swings, weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, constipation, and irregular menstrual cycles.

According to Medscape, Dr. Bougea said at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology 2017 (EAN) that treatment for hypothyroidism can be effective for headache relief, but that data were “largely lacking” on treating subclinical hypothyroidism.

The study looked at 45 patients with migraine without aura and subclinical hypothyroidism. Individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism typically have mild or no symptoms of hypothyroidism, a mildly high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level, and a normal thyroxine (T4) level. Qualified patients were given between 50 and 100mg of levothyroxine per day. The study showed migraine severity was reduced. Patients also went from an average of 14.68 migraines to 1.86 migraines per month.

The study excluded individuals with other primary headache disorders, a chronic illness known to affect thyroid hormone levels, long-term intake of drugs known to affect thyroid status, and psychiatric comorbidity.

The connection between subclinical hypothyroidism and migraine has already been discovered in pediatrics. A 2012 study published in Child Neurology showed that the treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism in children with migraine reduced their headache frequency.

Thyroid function testing is currently recommended as part of the workup for children with migraine.