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Here’s Why Women Get More Migraines Than Men

Anyone who’s ever had a migraine knows how nasty they can be, and there’s no way you’re hitting the treadmill when you feel like your brain is about to push its way through your skull. Unfortunately, that excruciating pain happens more often to women, as researchers found that females are four times more likely end up out of commission with one of these major pains than the guys at your gym.

The reason for it is sort of a mystery, but a pair of new studies is starting to shed light on what’s going on in our bodies when we get hit with a migraine, which might pave the way for new treatments.

In one study published in the journal Neurology, researchers looked at the role hormones may play in causing migraines because most women tend to get them around their periods (speaking of, here’s . They looked at 114 women who get regular migraines and 223 women who don’t, and had each group keep daily headache diaries. They also took daily hormone measurements during the course of one period a year for 10 years total.

The researchers realized that the migraine-prone among us tend to have faster estrogen level declines in the days leading up to their periods, which could be a possible trigger for the blinding headaches. It would also explain why men don’t experience the same headache frequency.

A second (and somewhat scarier) study published in the found that women who get migraines are more likely to have serious—and even fatal—heart conditions than those who don’t get hit with headaches. The women who reported getting regular migraines were 50 percent more likely to have serious health issues like heart attacks or strokes.

Though the head to heart link wasn’t totally clear from their findings, the researchers posit that it might have something to do with genetics or inflammation in the body.

Al of this is to say that even though there’s currently no cure for these beastly headaches, getting a better understanding of the triggers and effects of them is helping researchers get one step closer. Next time you’re struck with one.

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