Migraine, a chronic disorder characterized by episodes of headache, has a profound effect on the well-being and general functioning of its victims, not only during the acute attacks, but also in terms of impairment of school achievement, work performance, and family/social relationships. Despite staggering social and economic costs, it remains under-diagnosed and under-treated worldwide. Migraine has been labeled a “woman's disease” because it is three times more common in women than men, the attacks tend to be more severe and disabling among women and, in some women, they seem to be modulated by such hormonal “milestones” as menarche, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. After a brief review of the diagnosis of migraine, this article will examine the nuances responsible for that label and their implications for treatment.
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