CHICAGO, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Headache Foundation (NHF) today announced the formation of the National Menstrual Migraine Coalition to raise awareness of a distinct, but little known migraine condition, estimated to affect nearly 13 million women in the U.S. Menstrual migraines are often severe, long-duration migraines that have a higher probability of recurrence than other migraines. The NHF has assembled a group of leading headache specialists and others to form the coalition. The National Menstrual Migraine Coalition is sponsored through an educational grant from Endo Pharmaceuticals. "Women often tolerate menstrual migraine pain without understanding that it is treatable," said Suzanne Simons, executive director of the National Headache Foundation. "Women will be able to get the information they need at our web site and then talk to their healthcare providers if they think they might suffer from menstrual migraines." Up to 60 percent of migraines in women are menstrually related. Menstrual migraines can have a serious and debilitating impact on women's lives because they last longer than other migraines, come back more often and are harder to treat. Many women may not realize that the severe, recurring headache they get during menstruation could be a menstrual migraine. Women who experience headaches around their period for three months or longer should talk to their healthcare providers. "Doctors and patients alike should be better informed about the signs and symptoms of menstrual migraine," said Larry Newman, M.D., Director of the Headache Institute at Roosevelt Hospital, and Chair of the National Menstrual Migraine Coalition. "If we can improve awareness of menstrual migraine as a distinct condition, diagnosis should improve, and more women will gain access to appropriate treatment." The coalition will help educate both patients and healthcare providers about the prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of menstrual migraines. Among its activities, it will survey women migraine sufferers to identify their needs and then help to educate patients and their healthcare providers about how to better manage this unique type of migraine. Information on headache causes and treatment is available at the NHF web site, http://www.headaches.org . Menstrual Migraine Menstrual migraines can be classified in two types: pure menstrual migraines and menstrually related migraines (MRM). Pure menstrual migraines occur exclusively during menstruation. Women who suffer from MRM consistently experience migraines during their menstrual cycle but may also suffer from migraines at other times of the month. Menstrual migraine pain can disrupt a women's ability to function for up to three days at a time. While the exact causes of menstrual migraine are uncertain, the drop in estrogen levels during the menstrual cycle may trigger a menstrual migraine. Migraine Migraine is a neurobiological disorder that affects 28 million Americans and can be disabling, as evidenced by missed days of work, lost time with family and friends, and a disrupted daily routine. Migraine is characterized by recurrent painful headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours, when untreated, and with symptoms that may include moderate to severe headache pain, throbbing head pain, head pain located on one side of the head, head pain aggravated by routine activity, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and/or sound. The National Headache Foundation The National Headache Foundation, founded in 1970 and celebrating its 35th anniversary, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving headache sufferers, their families and the healthcare providers who treat them; promoting research into headache causes and treatments; and educating the public to the fact that headaches are a legitimate biological disease and that sufferers should receive understanding and continuity of care. For more information on headache causes and treatments, visit http://www.headaches.org or call 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST). References Allais G, Benedetto C. Update on menstrual migraine: from clinical aspects to therapeutical strategies. Neurol Sci. 2004 Oct; 25(Supplement 3):s229-s231. Geraud G, Keywood C, Senard JM. Migraine Headache Recurrence: Relationship To Clinical, Pharmacological, And Pharmacokinetic Properties Of Triptans. Headache 2003; 43:376-388. International Headache Society. Cephalalgia 2004; 24 (Supplement 1): 1- 152. Lipton RB, Diamond S, Reed M, Diamond ML, Stewart WF. Migraine Diagnosis and Treatment: Results From the American Migraine Study II. Headache 2001; 41:638-645.
SOURCE National Headache Foundation