According to a recent study, women who suffer migraines, the frequency of these debilitating headaches seems to increase as they approach menopause.

The new research included more than 3,600 women who suffered migraines before and during menopause. The risk of high-frequency migraines (10 or more a month) rose 60 percent during the transitional time into menopause marked by irregular menstrual cycles (perimenopause).

The risk of migraine was highest during the later stage of perimenopause, when women have low levels of estrogen, the study found.

“Women have been telling doctors that their migraine headaches worsen around menopause, and now we have proof they were right,” study author Dr. Vincent Martin, co-director of the Headache and Facial Pain Program at the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, said in a news release.

“Physicians can prescribe hormonal therapies that level out these changes that occur during the perimenopause and menopause time periods. If the patient is in early perimenopause, you can give birth control pills that level things out. If they are in the late perimenopause and they start skipping periods, they can be put on estrogen patches,”according to¬† Dr. Jelena Pavlovic, an attending physician in neurology at the Montefiore Headache Center and an assistant professor in the neurology department at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

About 12 percent of Americans get migraines, and women get them three times more often than men, the researchers said.

The study was published online Jan. 21 in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

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